CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · AJP Rep 2019; 09(01): e60-e66
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1678717
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

RNA-Sequencing of Umbilical Cord Blood to Investigate Spontaneous Preterm Birth: A Pilot Study

Neeta L. Vora
1  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
,
Joel S. Parker
2  Department of Genetics, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
,
Piotr A. Mieckowski
2  Department of Genetics, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
,
Lisa Smeester
3  Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
,
Rebecca C. Fry
3  Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
,
Kim A. Boggess
1  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
› Author Affiliations
Statement of Financial Support BIRCWH K12 HD001441 funded by NICHD (PI: Boggess); NICHD R03 HD080788 (PI: Vora); NICHD K23 HD088742 (PI: Vora); NCATS NIH UL1TR001111. The National Institutes of Health had no involvement in the study design, collection of specimens, analysis, interpretation of the data, writing of manuscript, or decision to submit the article for publication.
Further Information

Publication History

22 October 2018

13 November 2018

Publication Date:
07 March 2019 (online)

  

Abstract

Objective To analyze the transcriptomic gene expression of umbilical cord blood leukocytes using RNA-sequencing from preterm birth (PTB) and term birth (TB).

Study Design Eight women with spontaneous PTB (sPTB) and eight women with unlabored TB were enrolled prospectively. The sPTB and TB cohorts were matched for maternal age, race, mode of delivery, and fetal sex. Cord blood RNA was extracted and a globin depletion protocol was applied, then sequenced on the Illumina HiSeq 4000. Raw read counts were analyzed with DESeq2 to test for gene expression differences between sPTB and TB.

Results 148 genes had significant differential expression (q < 0.01). Cell cycle/metabolism gene expression was significantly higher and immune/inflammatory signaling gene expression significantly lower in the sPTB cohort compared with term. In African American (AA) infants, 18 genes specific to cell signaling, neutrophil activity, and major histocompatibility complex type 1 had lower expression in preterm compared with term cohort; the opposite pattern was seen in non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs).

Conclusion Compared with term, preterm fetuses have higher cell cycle/metabolism gene expression, suggesting metabolic focus on growth and development. Immune function gene expression in this pilot study is lower in the sPTB group compared with term and differs in AA compared with NHW infants.

Supplementary Material