Immunology Innovation

Immunology Innovation

ISSN 2053-213X
Original Research

Cytokines and cervical length: a pilot study of relationship to incidence of preterm birth

Monica Smith1†, Dara Seybold2†, Kenny P Aladefa2†, Jamie L Miller3† and Byron C Calhoun1†*

*Correspondence: Byron C Calhoun

All authors contributed equally to this work.

1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West Virginia University Physicians of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, United States.

Author Affiliations

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

ISSN 2053-213X
Volume 1
Abstract Download