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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Immunobiology of Acute Chorioamnionitis.

  • Author(s): Cappelletti, Monica
  • Presicce, Pietro
  • Kallapur, Suhas G
  • et al.

Acute chorioamnionitis is characterized by neutrophilic infiltration and inflammation at the maternal fetal interface. It is a relatively common complication of pregnancy and can have devastating consequences including preterm labor, maternal infections, fetal infection/inflammation, fetal lung, brain, and gastrointestinal tract injury. In this review, we will discuss current understanding of the pathogenesis, immunobiology, and mechanisms of this condition. Most commonly, acute chorioamnionitis is a result of ascending infection with relatively low-virulence organisms such as the Ureaplasma species. Furthermore, recent vaginal microbiome studies suggest that there is a link between vaginal dysbiosis, vaginal inflammation, and ascending infection. Although less common, microorganisms invading the maternal-fetal interface via hematogenous route (e.g., Zika virus, Cytomegalovirus, and Listeria) can cause placental villitis and severe fetal inflammation and injury. We will provide an overview of the knowledge gleaned from different animal models of acute chorioamnionitis and the role of different immune cells in different maternal-fetal compartments. Lastly, we will discuss how infectious agents can break the maternal tolerance of fetal allograft during pregnancy and highlight the novel future therapeutic approaches.

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