2. Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research, Charleston Area Medical Center Health Education and Research Institute, Charleston West Virginia, United States.
3. Life Science Division, Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center, Morgantown, West Virginia, United States.
Objective: To test if levels of interleukins (IL) in a low risk obstetric population coupled with transvaginal cervical length help predict spontaneous pre-term birth.
Materials and methods: Prospective pilot study of 39 patients presenting for initial prenatal care. Vaginal swabs from each patient evaluated for IL-1A, IL-1B, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and IL-13 levels via ELISA kits. Mean cytokine levels compared between preterm/term birth groups with Student t-test. Cytokine levels tested to evaluate correlation with shorter cervical lengths using Pearson's correlation.
Results: Of the 39 patients enrolled, 8 (20.5%) delivered pre-term. Mean IL-1A, IL-4, IL-10 and 11-13 levels were not statistically different between pre-term and term births. However, IL-1B and IL-6 levels were significantly lower in preterm birth group (6.28 pq/ml ±12.7 and 3.96 pg/ml ±3.8) compared to term births (25.41 pq/ml ±41.6; p=0.035 and 35.7 pq/ml ±55.3; p=0.003). There was moderate correlation between IL-10 and cervical length (r=0.54; p=0.002). IL-1A, IL-1B, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-13 had no correlation with cervical length.
Conclusions: Unlike previous reports, IL-1B and IL-6 levels were lower in our preterm birth patients. IL-10 may provide a moderating effect on both inflammatory cytokines and affect cervical length by its anti-inflammatory action. Further study with larger numbers of patients is warranted.
Keywords: Cervical length, cytokines, preterm birth, interleukins, pearson's correlation