by Ryan M. McAdams, Jeroen Vanderhoeven, Richard P. Beyer, Theo K. Bammler, Federico M. Farin, H. Denny Liggitt, Raj P. Kapur, Michael G. Gravett, Craig E. Rubens, Kristina M. Adams Waldorf
Intrauterine exposure to amniotic fluid (AF) cytokines is thought to predispose to bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). We evaluated the effects of GBS exposure on RNA expression in fetal lung tissue to determine early molecular pathways associated with fetal lung injury that may progress to BPD. Methods
Ten chronically catheterized pregnant monkeys (Macaca nemestrina) at 118–125 days gestation (term?=?172 days) received choriodecidual inoculation of either: 1) Group B Streptococcus (n?=?5) or 2) saline (n?=?5). Cesarean section and fetal necropsy was performed in the first week after GBS or saline inoculation regardless of labor. RNA was extracted from fetal lungs and profiled by microarray. Results were analyzed using single gene, Gene Set, and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Validation was by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Results
Despite uterine quiescence in most cases, fetal lung injury occurred in four GBS cases (intra-alveolar neutrophils, interstitial thickening) and one control (peri-mortem hemorrhage). Significant elevations of AF cytokines (TNF-a, IL-8, IL-1ß, IL-6) were detected in GBS versus controls (p<0.05). Lung injury was not directly caused by GBS, because GBS was undetectable by culture and PCR in the AF and fetal lungs. A total of 335 genes were differentially expressed greater than 1.5 fold (p<0.05) with GBS exposure associated with a striking upregulation of genes in innate and adaptive immunity and downregulation of pathways for angiogenesis, morphogenesis, and cellular growth and development. Conclusions
A transient choriodecidual infection may induce fetal lung injury with profound alterations in the genetic program of the fetal lung before signs of preterm labor. Our results provide a window for the first time into early molecular pathways disrupting fetal lung angiogenesis and morphogenesis before preterm labor occurs, which may set the stage for BPD. A strategy to prevent BPD should target the fetus in utero to attenuate alterations in the fetal lung genetic program.