Soluble TRAIL in normal pregnancy and acute pyelonephritis: a potential explanation for the susceptibility of pregnant women to microbial products and infection.

Piya Chaemsaithong, Roberto Romero, Steven J. Korzeniewski, Alyse G. Schwartz, Tamara Stampalija, Zhong Dong, Lami Yeo, Edgar Hernandez-Andrade, Sonia S. Hassan, Tinnakorn Chaiworapongsa

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Pregnancy is characterized by activation of the innate immune response demonstrated by phenotypic and metabolic changes in granulocytes and monocytes. This state of activation has been implicated in the pathophysiology of multiorgan dysfunction of pregnant women with acute viral or bacterial infection. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is one of the mediators responsible for neutrophil apoptosis. Gene deletion of TRAIL results in delayed neutrophil apoptosis and resolution of inflammation after the administration of bacterial endotoxin. The aim of this study was to determine whether maternal plasma concentrations of the soluble form of TRAIL (sTRAIL) differ in women with uncomplicated pregnancy and those with acute pyelonephritis. A cross-sectional study was conducted to include women in the following groups: (1) non-pregnant (n = 23); (2) uncomplicated pregnancies (n = 93) and (3) pregnancies with acute pyelonephritis (n = 23). Plasma concentrations of sTRAIL were determined by enzyme-linked immunoassay. (1) Women with uncomplicated pregnancies had a lower mean plasma sTRAIL concentration (pg/mL) than non-pregnant women (31.5 ± 10.1 versus 53.3 ± 12.5; p <0.001); (2) plasma sTRAIL concentrations did not change as a function of gestational age (Pearson correlation = -0.1; p = 0.4); (3) the mean plasma sTRAIL concentration (pg/mL) was significantly lower in pregnant women with acute pyelonephritis than in those with uncomplicated pregnancies (20.5 ± 6.6 versus 31.5 ± 10.1; p <0.001) and (4) among patients with acute pyelonephritis, patients with bacteremia had a significantly lower mean plasma concentration of sTRAIL (pg/mL) than those without bacteremia (15.1 ± 4.8 versus 24.7 ± 4.6; p <0.001). Women with uncomplicated pregnancies are associated with a significantly lower mean maternal plasma concentration of sTRAIL than that observed in non-pregnant women. Moreover, a further decrease in plasma sTRAIL concentration was observed in pregnant women with acute pyelonephritis, and this could account, at least in part, for the exaggerated intravascular inflammatory response previously reported in pyelonephritis during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1568-1575
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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