Identification of a novel gene signature in second-trimester amniotic fluid for the prediction of preterm birth

Min A. Kim, Eun Ju Lee, Wookyeom Yang, Ha Yeon Shin, Young Han Kim, Jae Hoon Kim

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Preterm birth affects approximately 5% to 7% of live births worldwide and is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Amniotic fluid supernatant (AFS) contains abundant cell-free nucleic acids (cfNAs) that can provide genetic information associated with pregnancy complications. In the current study, cfNAs of AFS in the early second-trimester before the onset of symptoms of preterm birth were analyzed, and we compared gene expression levels between spontaneous preterm birth (n = 5) and term birth (n = 5) groups using sequencing analysis. Differential expression analyses detected 24 genes with increased and 6 genes with decreased expression in the preterm birth group compared to term birth. Upregulated expressions of RDH14, ZNF572, VOPP1, SERPINA12, and TCF15 were validated in an extended AFS sample by quantitative PCR (preterm birth group, n = 21; term birth group, n = 40). Five candidate genes displayed a significant increase in mRNA expression in immortalized trophoblast HTR-8/SVneo cell with H2O2 treatment. Moreover, the expression of five candidate genes was increased to more than twofold by pretreatment with lipopolysaccharide in HTR-8/SVneo cells. Changes in gene expression between preterm birth and term birth is strongly correlated with oxidative stress and infection during pregnancy. Specific expression patterns of genes could be used as potential markers for the early identification of women at risk of having a spontaneous preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3085
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

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© 2022, The Author(s).

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