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Fetal Diagn Ther. 2018;44(1):36-43. doi: 10.1159/000478259. Epub 2017 Jul 26.

Cervical Alpha-Actinin-4 Is Upregulated in Women with Threatened Preterm Labor and Microbial Invasion of the Amniotic Cavity.

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BCNatal - Barcelona Center for Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine (Hospital Clínic and Hospital Sant Joan de Deu), Fetal i+D Fetal Medicine Research Center, IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.



To characterize the proteome profile of women with threatened preterm labor (PTL) below 34;0 weeks with and without microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) using mass spectrometry in the amniotic fluid (AF) and Western blot analysis in the cervical mucus and the vaginal fluid.


In the discovery phase, a case-control study including 8 women with MIAC and 7 without matched for gestational age at sampling was performed. Proteomic profile characterization was done using the LTQ VELOS Orbitrap mass spectrometer in the AF. In the validation phase, a selection of the proteins differentially expressed by mass spectrometry in the genital samples of a prospective cohort of 109 women was validated by Western blot analysis.


In the discovery phase, the mass spectrometry analysis identified a total of 444 proteins. Sixteen were chosen for validation, being involved in defense (calgranulin A, B, C, C-reactive protein), cytoskeletal remodeling (alpha-actinin-4 [ACTN-4], plastin-2, α2-antiplasmin, vitronectin), metabolism (cystatin-β, glucose 6 phosphate isomerase, glutathione S-transferase, prostaglandin D2 synthase, corticosteroid-binding globulin), and vascular (α1-antichymotrypsin, hemopexin, endosialin) pathways. In the validation phase, cervical ACTN-4 was the only significantly upregulated protein in women with MIAC with an odds ratio of 6.8 (p = 0.002).


Cervical ACTN-4 was significantly upregulated in the group of women with PTL with MIAC.


Alpha-actinin-4; Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity; Noninvasive sampling; Threatened preterm labor

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