Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 101
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Placental OLAH Levels Are Altered in Fetal Growth Restriction, Preeclampsia and Models of Placental Dysfunction
    de Alwis, N ; Beard, S ; Binder, NK ; Pritchard, N ; Kaitu'u-Lino, TJ ; Walker, SP ; Stock, O ; Groom, K ; Petersen, S ; Henry, A ; Said, JM ; Seeho, S ; Kane, SC ; Tong, S ; Hui, L ; Hannan, NJ (MDPI, 2022-09-01)
    Previously, we identified elevated transcripts for the gene Oleoyl-ACP Hydrolase (OLAH) in the maternal circulation of pregnancies complicated by preterm fetal growth restriction. As placental dysfunction is central to the pathogenesis of both fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia, we aimed to investigate OLAH levels and function in the human placenta. We assessed OLAH mRNA expression (qPCR) throughout pregnancy, finding placental expression increased as gestation progressed. OLAH mRNA and protein levels (Western blot) were elevated in placental tissue from cases of preterm preeclampsia, while OLAH protein levels in placenta from growth-restricted pregnancies were comparatively reduced in the preeclamptic cohort. OLAH expression was also elevated in placental explant tissue, but not isolated primary cytotrophoblast cultured under hypoxic conditions (as models of placental dysfunction). Further, we discovered that silencing cytotrophoblast OLAH reduced the expression of pro- and anti-apoptosis genes, BAX and BCL2, placental growth gene, IGF2, and oxidative stress gene, NOX4. Collectively, these findings suggest OLAH could play a role in placental dysfunction and may be a therapeutic target for mitigating diseases associated with this vital organ. Further research is required to establish the role of OLAH in the placenta, and whether these changes may be a maternal adaptation or consequence of disease.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Serum Collected from Preeclamptic Pregnancies Drives Vasoconstriction of Human Omental Arteries-A Novel Ex Vivo Model of Preeclampsia for Therapeutic Development
    Fato, BR ; de Alwis, N ; Beard, S ; Binder, NK ; Pritchard, N ; Tong, S ; Kaitu'u-Lino, TJ ; Hannan, NJ (MDPI, 2022-09-01)
    New-onset maternal hypertension is a hallmark of preeclampsia, driven by widespread endothelial dysfunction and systemic vasoconstriction. Here, we set out to create a new ex vivo model using preeclamptic serum to cause injury to the endothelium, mimicking vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia and offering the potential to evaluate candidate therapeutic interventions. Human omental arteries were collected at caesarean section from normotensive pregnant patients at term (n = 9). Serum was collected from pregnancies complicated by preterm preeclampsia (birth < 34 weeks' gestation, n = 16), term preeclampsia (birth > 37 weeks' gestation, n = 5), and healthy gestation-matched controls (preterm n = 16, term n = 12). Using wire myography, we performed ex vivo whole vessel assessment where human omental arteries were treated with increasing doses of each serum treatment (2-20%) and vasoreactivity was assessed. All pregnant serum treatments successfully drove vasoconstriction; no significant difference was observed in the degree of vasoconstriction when exposed to preeclamptic or control serum. We further demonstrated the ability of esomeprazole (a candidate therapeutic for preeclampsia; 0.1-100 µM) to drive vasorelaxation of pre-constricted vessels (only with serum from preeclamptic patients). In summary, we describe a novel human physiological model of preeclamptic vascular constriction. We demonstrate its exciting potential to screen drugs for their therapeutic potential as treatment for vasoconstriction induced by preeclampsia.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Associations Between Soluble fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase-1 and Placental Growth Factor and Disease Severity Among Women With Preterm Eclampsia and Preeclampsia
    Hastie, R ; Bergman, L ; Walker, SP ; Kaitu'u-Lino, T ; Hannan, NJ ; Brownfoot, F ; Schell, S ; Harper, A ; Cannon, P ; Cluver, CA ; Tong, S (WILEY, 2022-08-16)
    Background The angiogenic factors soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and placental growth factor (PlGF) are postulated to be pathogenic disease drivers of preeclampsia. If true, then circulating levels should become more deranged with increasing disease severity. Methods and Results We investigated the association between circulating sFlt-1 and PlGF levels and severe adverse maternal outcomes among 348 women with preeclampsia. Compared with 125 women with preeclampsia without severe features, 25 women with preeclampsia and any of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulation, or severe renal involvement had sFlt-1 levels that were 2.63-fold higher (95% CI, 1.81-3.82), sFlt-1/PlGF levels that were 10.07-fold higher (95% CI, 5.36-18.91) and PlGF levels that were 74% lower (adjusted fold change, 0.26 [95% CI, 0.18-0.39]). Compared with 125 women with preeclampsia without severe features, 37 with eclampsia had sFlt-1 levels that were 2-fold higher (2.02 [95% CI, 1.32-3.09]), sFlt-1/PIGF levels that were 4.71-fold higher (95% CI, 2.30-9.66) and PIGF levels that were 63% lower (0.43-fold change [95% CI, 0.27-0.68]). Compared with those without severe features, preeclampsia with severe hypertension (n=146) was also associated with altered angiogenic levels (sFlt-1, 1.71-fold change [95% CI, 1.39-2.11]; sFlt/PlGF, 2.91 [95% CI, 2.04-4.15]; PlGF, 0.59 [95%CI 0.47-0.74]). We also found that sFlt-1 and PlGF levels were altered by the number of maternal complications experienced. Conclusions Further angiogenic imbalance among women with preeclampsia is likely a pathogenic disease driver responsible for the life-threatening maternal complications.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Fetal size classified using gestational days rather than gestational weeks improves correlation with stillbirth risk: A statewide population study.
    Pritchard, NL ; Tong, S ; Walker, SP ; Lindquist, AC ; Crovetto, F (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2022)
    OBJECTIVE: Many growth charts provide single centile cutoffs for each week of gestation, yet fetuses gain weight throughout the week. We aimed to assess whether using a single centile per week distorts the proportion of infants classified as small and their risk of stillbirth across the week. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Victoria, Australia. POPULATION: Singleton, non-anomalous infants born from 2005-2015 (529,261). METHODS: We applied growth charts to identify small-for-gestational-age (SGA) fetuses on week-based charts (single centile per gestational week) and day-based charts (centile per gestational day). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportions <10th centile by each chart, and stillbirth risk amongst SGA infants. RESULTS: Using week-based charts, 12.1% of infants born on the first day of a gestational week were SGA, but only 7.8% on the final day; ie. an infant born at the end of the week was 44% less likely to be classed as SGA (p<0.0001). The relative risk of stillbirth amongst SGA infants born on the final day of the week compared with the first was 1.47 (95%CI 1.09-2.00, p = 0.01). Using day charts, SGA proportions were similar and stillbirth risk equal between the beginning and end of the week (9.5% vs 9.9%). CONCLUSIONS: Growth standards using a single cutoff for a gestational week overestimate the proportion of infants that are small at the beginning of the week and underestimate the proportion at the end. This distorts the risk of stillbirth amongst SGA infants based on when in the week an infant is born. Day-based charts should be used.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Time to resolution of tubal ectopic pregnancy following methotrexate treatment: A retrospective cohort study.
    Davenport, MJ ; Lindquist, A ; Brownfoot, F ; Pritchard, N ; Tong, S ; Hastie, R ; Garzon, S (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2022)
    OBJECTIVE: To determine the time to resolution of tubal ectopic pregnancy after methotrexate treatment. METHODS: A 14-year retrospective cohort study was performed from 2004-2018 and assessed 216 women treated with single-dose methotrexate for tubal ectopic pregnancy. Women were treated using a single-dose protocol of intramuscular methotrexate (50mg/m2) for confirmed tubal ectopic pregnancy on ultrasound. Ectopic pregnancies were included if the ectopic pregnancy mass was <35mm, no evidence of rupture and no embryonic cardiac activity. Serum hCG was measured on day 1, 4 and 7 of treatment and then at standard weekly intervals until resolution. Where there was not a ≥15% decline in hCG from day 4 and day 7, a second dose of methotrexate was administered. The primary outcome was time to resolution (days), with serum hCG <5 IU/L considered resolved. The secondary outcome was need for rescue surgery. RESULTS: Among women who did not proceed to surgery, the median time to resolution was 22 days (IQR 14,34). Time to resolution and need for rescue surgery increased with baseline hCG. When hCG was <1000 IU/L, the median was 20 days (IQR 13,29) but 34.5 days (IQR 22,48) with hCG >2000 IU/L. Early hCG trends were predictive of time to resolution and likelihood of rescue surgery; a hCG rise of >1000 IU/L between Days 1-4 increased time to resolution to 61 days (IQR 35,80) and an odds ratio of rescue surgery of 28.6 (95% C.I. 5.3,155.4). CONCLUSION: The median time to resolution for ectopic pregnancies treated with methotrexate is 22 days and associated with baseline hCG levels. The predictive value of baseline hCG may be useful in clinical decision making and counselling women considering methotrexate for ectopic pregnancy.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Use of Metformin to Prolong Gestation in Preterm Pre-eclampsia: Randomised, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Trial
    Cluver, CA ; Hiscock, R ; Decloedt, EH ; Hall, DR ; Schell, S ; Mol, BW ; Brownfoot, F ; Kaitu'U-Lino, TJ ; Walker, SP ; Tong, S (Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), 2022-03-01)
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Cerebral biomarkers in neurologic complications of preeclampsia.
    Bergman, L ; Hastie, R ; Bokström-Rees, E ; Zetterberg, H ; Blennow, K ; Schell, S ; Imberg, H ; Langenegger, E ; Moodley, A ; Walker, S ; Tong, S ; Cluver, C (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    BACKGROUND: There is no tool to accurately predict who is at risk of developing neurologic complications of preeclampsia, and there is no objective method to determine disease severity. OBJECTIVE: We assessed whether plasma concentrations of the cerebral biomarkers neurofilament light, tau, and glial fibrillary acidic protein could reflect disease severity in several phenotypes of preeclampsia. Furthermore, we compared the cerebral biomarkers with the angiogenic biomarkers soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1, placental growth factor, and soluble endoglin. STUDY DESIGN: In this observational study, we included women from the South African Preeclampsia Obstetric Adverse Events biobank. Plasma samples taken at diagnosis (preeclampsia cases) or admission for delivery (normotensive controls) were analyzed for concentrations of neurofilament light, tau, glial fibrillary acidic protein, placental growth factor, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1, and soluble endoglin. The cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of inflammatory markers and albumin were analyzed in a subgroup of 15 women. Analyses were adjusted for gestational age, time from seizures and delivery to sampling, maternal age, and parity. RESULTS: Compared with 28 women with normotensive pregnancies, 146 women with preeclampsia demonstrated 2.18-fold higher plasma concentrations of neurofilament light (95% confidence interval, 1.64-2.88), 2.17-fold higher tau (95% confidence interval, 1.49-3.16), and 2.77-fold higher glial fibrillary acidic protein (95% confidence interval, 2.06-3.72). Overall, 72 women with neurologic complications (eclampsia, cortical blindness, and stroke) demonstrated increased plasma concentrations of tau (2.99-fold higher; 95% confidence interval, 1.92-4.65) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (3.22-fold higher; 95% confidence interval, 2.06-5.02) compared with women with preeclampsia without pulmonary edema; hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count; or neurologic complications (n=31). Moreover, angiogenic markers were higher, but to a lesser extent. Women with hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count (n=20) demonstrated increased plasma concentrations of neurofilament light (1.64-fold higher; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-2.55), tau (4.44-fold higher; 95% confidence interval, 1.85-10.66), and glial fibrillary acidic protein (1.82-fold higher; 95% confidence interval, 1.32-2.50) compared with women with preeclampsia without pulmonary edema; hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count; or neurologic complications. There was no difference shown in the angiogenic biomarkers. There was no difference between 23 women with preeclampsia complicated by pulmonary edema and women with preeclampsia without pulmonary edema; hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count; or neurologic complications for any of the biomarkers. Plasma concentrations of tau and glial fibrillary acidic protein were increased in women with several neurologic complications compared with women with eclampsia only. CONCLUSION: Plasma neurofilament light, glial fibrillary acidic, and tau were candidate biomarkers for the diagnosis and possibly prediction of cerebral complications of preeclampsia.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    PSG7 and 9 (Pregnancy-Specific beta-1 Glycoproteins 7 and 9): Novel Biomarkers for Preeclampsia
    Kandel, M ; MacDonald, TM ; Walker, SP ; Cluver, C ; Bergman, L ; Myers, J ; Hastie, R ; Keenan, E ; Hannan, NJ ; Cannon, P ; Nguyen, T-V ; Pritchard, N ; Tong, S ; Kaitu'u-Lino, TJ (WILEY, 2022-04-05)
    Background Preeclampsia is pregnancy specific, involving significant maternal endothelial dysfunction. Predictive biomarkers are lacking. We evaluated the biomarker potential, expression, and function of PSG7 (pregnancy-specific β-1 glycoprotein 7) and PSG9 (pregnancy-specific β-1 glycoprotein 9) in preeclampsia. Methods and Results At 36 weeks gestation preceding term preeclampsia diagnosis, PSG7 and PSG9 (in Australian cohorts of n=918 and n=979, respectively) were significantly increased before the onset of term preeclampsia (PSG7, P=0.013; PSG9, P=0.0011). In samples collected at 28 to 32 weeks from those with preexisting cardiovascular disease and at high risk of preeclampsia (Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service, UK cohort, n=235), both PSG7 and PSG9 were also significantly increased preceding preeclampsia onset (PSG7, P<0.0001; PSG9, P=0.0003) relative to controls. These changes were validated in the plasma and placentas of patients with established preeclampsia who delivered at <34 weeks gestation (PSG7, P=0.0008; PSG9, P<0.0001). To examine whether PSG7 and PSG9 are associated with increasing disease severity, we measured them in a cohort from South Africa stratified for this outcome, the PROVE (Preeclampsia Obstetric Adverse Events) cohort (n=72). PSG7 (P=0.0027) and PSG9 (P=0.0028) were elevated among patients who were preeclamptic with severe features (PROVE cohort), but not significantly changed in those without severe features or with eclampsia. In syncytialized first trimester cytotrophoblast stem cells, exposure to TNFα (tumor necrosis factor α) or IL-6 (interleukin 6) significantly increased the expression and secretion of PSG7 and PSG9. In contrast, when we treated primary endothelial cells with recombinant PSG7 and PSG9, we only observed modest changes in Flt-1 (FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1) expression and Plgf (placental growth factor) expression, and no other effects on proangiogenic/antiangiogenic or endothelial dysfunction markers were observed. Conclusions Circulating PSG7 and PSG9 are increased before preeclampsia onset and among those with established disease with their production and release potentially driven by placental inflammation.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Maternal factors during pregnancy influencing maternal, fetal and childhood outcomes: Meet the Guest Editors.
    Muglia, L ; Tong, S ; Ozanne, S ; Benhalima, K (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-03-10)
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Low-Dose Aspirin for Preventing Birth of a Small-For-Gestational Age Neonate in a Subsequent Pregnancy.
    Hastie, R ; Tong, S ; Wikström, A-K ; Walker, SP ; Lindquist, A ; Cluver, CA ; Kupka, E ; Bergman, L ; Hesselman, S (Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), 2022-04-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To estimate whether low-dose aspirin use is associated with an altered risk of delivering a small-for-gestational age (SGA) neonate among women with a history of having an SGA neonate in a prior pregnancy. METHODS: We performed a Swedish register-based cohort study including women in their second pregnancy who had a history of having an SGA neonate (birth weight less than the 10th percentile). The association between use of low-dose aspirin in subsequent pregnancy and birth of an SGA neonate or a severely SGA neonate (birth weight less than the third percentile) were estimated using inverse propensity-weighted estimation, accounting for potential confounders. RESULTS: Among 8,416 women who gave birth to an SGA neonate in their first pregnancy, 801 (9.5%) used low-dose aspirin during their second pregnancy. The incidence of SGA neonates was similar among women using low-dose aspirin (21.7%) and those who did not use aspirin (20.7%). Low-dose aspirin use in pregnancy was not associated with an altered risk of having an SGA neonate (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 0.86, 95% CI 0.67-1.10) or a severely SGA neonate (aRR 0.98, 95% CI 0.71-1.34). Given the strong association between preeclampsia and SGA, we performed subgroup analyses based on preeclampsia status. Among women who had an SGA neonate and co-existing preeclampsia in their first pregnancy, low-dose aspirin was not associated with an altered risk of having an SGA (aRR 0.83, 95% CI 0.63-1.10) or severely SGA (aRR 1.02, 95% CI 0.73-1.44) neonate. Additionally, no association was seen among women who developed preeclampsia in their second pregnancy. CONCLUSION: Among women with a history of having an SGA neonate, low-dose aspirin was not associated with a decreased risk of having an SGA or severely SGA neonate in subsequent pregnancy. These findings suggest that low-dose aspirin should not be used to prevent recurrent SGA.