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Mid-gestation serum lipidomic profile associations with spontaneous preterm birth are influenced by body mass index.


Spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB) is a major cause of infant morbidity and mortality. While metabolic changes leading to preterm birth are unknown, several factors including dyslipidemia and inflammation have been implicated and paradoxically both low (<18.5 kg/m2) and high (>30 kg/m2) body mass indices (BMIs) are risk factors for this condition. The objective of the study was to identify BMI-associated metabolic perturbations and potential mid-gestation serum biomarkers of preterm birth in a cohort of underweight, normal weight and obese women experiencing either sPTB or full-term deliveries (n = 102; n = 17/group). For this purpose, we combined untargeted metabolomics and lipidomics with targeted metabolic profiling of major regulators of inflammation and metabolism, including oxylipins, endocannabinoids, bile acids and ceramides. Women who were obese and had sPTB showed elevated oxidative stress and dyslipidemia characterized by elevated serum free fatty acids. Women who were underweight-associated sPTB also showed evidence of dyslipidemia characterized by elevated phospholipids, unsaturated triglycerides, sphingomyelins, cholesteryl esters and long-chain acylcarnitines. In normal weight women experiencing sPTB, the relative abundance of 14(15)-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid and 14,15-dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids to other regioisomers were altered at mid-pregnancy. This phenomenon is not yet associated with any biological process, but may be linked to estrogen metabolism. These changes were differentially modulated across BMI groups. In conclusion, using metabolomics we observed distinct BMI-dependent metabolic manifestations among women who had sPTB. These observations suggest the potential to predict sPTB mid-gestation using a new set of metabolomic markers and BMI stratification. This study opens the door to further investigate the role of cytochrome P450/epoxide hydrolase metabolism in sPTB.

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