• Anti-inflammatory cytokines;
  • pre-term delivery;
  • progesterone-induced blocking factor;
  • pro-inflammatory cytokines

Problem  The objective of this study was to compare serum concentrations of progesterone-induced blocking factor (PIBF), anti-inflammatory (IL-10), and pro-inflammatory (IL-6, TNFα, and IFNγ) cytokines of women with threatened pre-term delivery, with those of women with normal pregnancy and to evaluate the impact of PIBF on the outcome of pregnancy.

Method of study  A prospective study was conducted on a sample of 30 women with threatened pre-term delivery (study group) and 20 healthy pregnant women (control group) between the 24th and 37th gestational weeks. Serum PIBF, anti-inflammatory (IL-10), and pro-inflammatory (IL-6, TNFα, and IFNγ) cytokine concentrations were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results  Thirteen of 30 patients (43.3%) with symptoms of threatened pre-term delivery, and one of 20 patients (5%) in the control group delivered before the 37th week of gestation. Mean PIBF concentrations in serum samples of patients with threatened pre-term delivery were significantly lower than in those of healthy pregnant women (171.12 ± 162.06 ng/mL versus 272.85 ± 114.87 ng/mL; < 0.05). Women with symptoms of threatened pre-term delivery had significantly lower serum levels of IL-10, and higher levels of IL-6 as well as IFNγ compared with healthy controls.

Conclusion  Our results indicate that measuring PIBF and cytokine concentrations in serum during pregnancy is feasible and may be important for understanding immunological causes of pre-term delivery.