ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Chorioamnionitis and Increased Galectin-1 Expression in PPROM – An Anti-Inflammatory Response in the Fetal Membranes?


Nandor Gabor Than and Roberto Romero, Perinatology Research Branch, NICHD/NIH/DHHS, Wayne State University/Hutzel Women’s Hospital, 3990 John R, Box 4, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.
E-mail: prbchiefstaff@med.wayne.edu and nthan@med.wayne.edu


Problem Galectin-1 can regulate immune responses upon infection and inflammation. We determined galectin-1 expression in the chorioamniotic membranes and its changes during histological chorioamnionitis.

Method of study Chorioamniotic membranes were obtained from women with normal pregnancy (n = 5) and from patients with pre-term pre-labor rupture of the membranes (PPROM) with (n = 8) and without histological chorioamnionitis (n = 8). Galectin-1 mRNA and protein were localized by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Galectin-1 mRNA expression was also determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.

Results Galectin-1 mRNA and protein were detected in the amniotic epithelium, chorioamniotic fibroblasts/myofibroblasts and macrophages, chorionic trophoblasts, and decidual stromal cells. In patients with PPROM, galectin-1 mRNA expression in the fetal membranes was higher (2.07-fold, P = 0.002) in those with chorioamnionitis than in those without. Moreover, chorioamionitis was associated with a strong galectin-1 immunostaining in amniotic epithelium, chorioamniotic mesodermal cells, and apoptotic bodies.

Conclusion Chorioamnionitis is associated with an increased galectin-1 mRNA expression and strong immunoreactivity of the chorioamniotic membranes; thus, galectin-1 may be involved in the regulation of the inflammatory responses to chorioamniotic infection.