Amer J Perinatol
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1608677
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Patterns of Systemic and Cervicovaginal Fluid Inflammatory Cytokines throughout Pregnancy

Kristin B. Ashford1, Niraj Chavan2, Jeffrey L. Ebersole3, Amanda T. Wiggins1, Savita Sharma1, Andrea McCubbin1, Janine Barnett1, John O'Brien2
  • 1Perinatal Research and Wellness Center, University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, Kentucky
  • 2Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal Fetal Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky
  • 3Center for Oral Health Research, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, Lexington, Kentucky
Further Information

Publication History

28 March 2017

06 October 2017

Publication Date:
13 November 2017 (eFirst)


Objective This study describes the normal variations in serum and cervicovaginal fluid (CVF) cytokine levels throughout pregnancy.

Study Design This multicenter, prospective study examined trimester-specific maternal serum and CVF cytokines (interleukin [IL]-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α, and C-reactive protein [CRP]). A two-factor linear mixed modeling approach compared cytokine distribution, while pairwise comparisons evaluated differences over time.

Results Trimester-specific serum cytokine data were available for 288, 243, and 221 patients, whereas CVF cytokine data were available for 273, 229, and 198 patients. CVF had significantly higher concentrations of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and matrix metalloproteinase-8 (p < 0.001), irrespective of the trimester. At all time points, IL-10 and CRP concentrations were higher in serum than CVF (p < 0.001). Serum IL-10 increased significantly throughout pregnancy (p < 0.001).

Conclusion Differences in cytokine distribution across different biological fluids are evident throughout pregnancy. These findings provide a framework for examining patterns of changes in cytokines throughout pregnancy.


Financial support for this research was provided in part by National Institutes for Health Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH: K12DA14040) to K.B.A.; Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE: 5P20GM103538) and University of Kentucky Clinical and Translational Research Center KL2RR033171 to J.L.E. The project described was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant number UL1TR000117. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


Findings were presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine: The pregnancy Meeting, Atlanta, GA, February 1–6, 2016.