Researchers identify blood markers that indicate labor is ap
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For the first time, researchers have found a way to predict when a pregnant woman will go into labor by analyzing immune and other biological signals in a blood sample, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Estimating the time of delivery is of high clinical importance because pre- and postterm deviations are associated with complications for the mother and her offspring. However, current estimations are inaccurate.

As pregnancy progresses toward labor, major transitions occur in fetomaternal immune, metabolic, and endocrine systems that culminate in birth. The comprehensive characterization of maternal biology that precedes labor is key to understanding these physiological transitions and identifying predictive biomarkers of delivery.

Here, a longitudinal study was conducted on 63 women who went into labor spontaneously. More than 7000 plasma analytes and peripheral immune cell responses were analyzed using untargeted mass spectrometry, aptamer-based proteomic technology, and single-cell mass cytometry in serial blood samples collected during the last 100 days of pregnancy.

The high-dimensional dataset was integrated into a multiomic model that predicted the time to spontaneous labor. Coordinated alterations in the maternal metabolome, proteome, and immunome marked a molecular shift from pregnancy maintenance to pre-labor biology 2 to 4 weeks before delivery. A surge in steroid hormone metabolites and interleukin-1 receptor type 4 that preceded labor coincided with a switch from immune activation to the regulation of inflammatory responses.

The study lays the groundwork for developing blood-based methods for predicting the day of labor, anchored in mechanisms shared in preterm and term pregnancies.

Science Translational Medicine
Source: https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/13/592/eabd9898
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