• Infection;
  • nonhuman primate;
  • preterm labour

Please cite this paper as: Adams Waldorf K, Rubens C, Gravett M. Use of nonhuman primate models to investigate mechanisms of infection-associated preterm birth. BJOG 2011;118:136–144.

Preterm birth is the most important direct cause of neonatal mortality and remains a major challenge for obstetrics and global health. Intrauterine infection causes approximately 50% of early preterm births. Animal models using pregnant mice, rabbits or sheep demonstrate the key link between infection and premature birth, but differ in the mechanisms of parturition and placental structure from humans. The nonhuman primate (NHP) is a powerful model which emulates many features of human placentation and parturition. The contributions of the NHP model to preterm birth research are reviewed, emphasising the role of infections and the potential development of preventative and therapeutic strategies.