Funisitis and chorionic vasculitis: The histological counterpart of the fetal inflammatory response syndrome

P. Pacora, T. Chaiworapongsa, E. Maymon, Y. M. Kim, R. Gomez, B. H. Yoon, F. Ghezzi, S. M. Berry, F. Qureshi, S. M. Jacques, J. C. Kim, N. Kadar, R. Romero

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336 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether there is a relationship between the presence of histological signs of inflammation in the extraplacental membranes and umbilical cord and the concentrations of fetal plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6). Methods: The study examined a cohort of patients who were admitted with preterm labor or preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) and who underwent cordocentesis. Inclusion criteria included fetal plasma available for IL-6 determination, histological examination of the umbilical cord and placenta, and delivery within 48 h of the procedure. This last criterion was used to preserve a meaningful temporal relationship between fetal plasma IL-6 and the results of histological examination of the placenta. Fetal plasma IL-6 was determined by a high sensitivity ELISA. Forty-five patients were available for study: 18 patients had preterm labor with intact membranes and 27 had preterm PROM. Results: The incidence of funisitis was 44.4% (20/45): 27.8% (5/18) in patients with preterm labor and intact membranes and 55.6% (15/27) in patients with preterm PROM. The median values of fetal plasma IL-6 in patients with funisitis, chorioamnionitis without funisitis, and non-inflamed membranes were 51.4, 18.4 and 5.2 pg/ml, respectively. After log transformation of the fetal plasma IL-6 concentration, the means differed significantly from each other (ANOVA, p < 0.02). There was no difference in log fetal plasma IL-6 concentration between patients with funisitis and those with chorioamnionitis without funisitis. The difference in mean concentration of log fetal plasma IL-6 between patients with funisitis or chorionic vasculitis and those without inflammation was highly significant (post-hoc test, p = 0.01 and p < 0.01, respectively). Fetuses with fetal plasma IL-6 > 11 pg/ml had a significantly higher rate of histological signs of inflammation in the extraplacental membranes and umbilical cord than those with fetal plasma IL-6 < 11 pg/ml (funisitis: 55.6% (15/27) vs. 27.8% (5/18), p < 0.05; chorionic vasculitis: 55.6% (15/27) vs. 12.5% (2/16), p < 0.01; chorioamnionitis only: 25.9% (7/27) vs. 16.7% (3/18), p < 0.05; no inflammation: 18.5% (5/27) vs. 55.6% (10/18), p < 0.05, respectively). Fetuses with funisitis had significantly higher rates of clinical and histological chorioamnionitis, and neonatal infectious morbidity (proven + suspected sepsis) than fetuses without funisitis (40% (8/20) vs. 8% (2/25), 90% (18/20) vs. 36% (9/25), and 40% (8/20) vs. 4% (1/25), respectively; p < 0.01 for each). Fetuses with chorionic vasculitis had significantly higher rates of clinical and histological chorioamnionitis as well as neonatal infectious morbidity (proven + suspected sepsis) than fetuses without chorionic vasculitis (100% (17/17) vs. 42.3% (11/26), p < 0.01; 82.4% (14/17) vs. 50.0% (13/26), p = 0.05; and 41.2% (7/17) vs. 7.7% (2/26), p = 0.01). Conclusion: Fetal plasma IL-6 concentration is significantly associated with the presence of inflammatory lesions in the extraplacental membranes and umbilical cord. Fetuses with fetal plasma IL-6 > 11 pg/ml had a significantly higher rate of funisitis and/or chorionic vasculitis than fetuses with fetal plasma IL-6 < 11 pg/ml. These findings suggest that funisitis/chorionic vasculitis is the histological manifestation of the fetal inflammatory response syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Fetal inflammatory response syndrome
  • Funisitis
  • Interleukin-6
  • Neonatal sepsis
  • Preterm labor
  • Preterm premature rupture of membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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