Chorionic plate vessels as an origin of amniotic fluid neutrophils


Chong Jai Kim, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 28 Yongon-dong, Chongno-gu, Seoul 110-799, Korea. Email:


The present study was conducted to investigate the potential anatomical source of amniotic fluid neutrophils. Microdissection of neutrophils from the chorioamnion of the fetal membranes and the amnion of the chorionic plates of 10 preterm placentas with acute chorioamnionitis was performed and the genotypes of the neutrophils were compared with those of the mother and fetus using polymerase chain reaction of nine autosomal STR loci. In separate analyses, we reviewed eight cases of fetal autopsies with increased amniotic fluid neutrophils for the presence of neutrophils in the alveoli, and also analyzed the relationship between the amniotic fluid white blood cell (WBC) count and the histological pattern of placental inflammation. The genotypes of all of the neutrophils found in the chorioamnion of the fetal membrane matched those of the mother (n = 10). The genotypes of neutrophils found in the chorionic plate were of mixed maternal and fetal origin (n = 4). In the autopsy series of the fetuses with amniotic fluid WBC (n = 8), only five cases showed neutrophils in the alveolar space, while all the placentas had chorioamnionitis. There was no significant difference in amniotic fluid WBC count between the cases with or without acute membranitis, while among the cases with placental inflammation, those with inflammation of the chorionic plate had a significantly higher amniotic fluid WBC count than both the membranitis-only cases (P < 0.001) and the membranitis and funisitis cases (P < 0.05). These results imply that fetal vasculature at the chorionic plate is the main source of amniotic fluid neutrophils, especially in the cases without funisitis.