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Circulating TRAIL Shows a Significant Post-Partum Decline Associated to Stressful Conditions
Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Author: Giorgio Zauli et al.

by Giorgio Zauli, Lorenzo Monasta, Erika Rimondi, Liza Vecchi Brumatti, Oriano Radillo, Luca Ronfani, Marcella Montico, Giuseppina D'Ottavio, Salvatore Alberico, Paola Secchiero


Since circulating levels of TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) may be important in the physiopathology of pregnancy, we tested the hypothesis that TRAIL levels change at delivery in response to stressful conditions.

Methods/Principal Findings

We conducted a longitudinal study in a cohort of 73 women examined at week 12, week 16, delivery and in the corresponding cord blood (CB). Serum TRAIL was assessed in relationship with maternal characteristics and to biochemical parameters. TRAIL did not vary between 12 (67.6±27.6 pg/ml, means±SD) and 16 (64.0±16.2 pg/ml) weeks' gestation, while displaying a significant decline after partum (49.3±26.4 pg/ml). Using a cut-off decline >20 pg/ml between week 12 and delivery, the subset of women with the higher decline of circulating TRAIL (41.7%) showed the following characteristics: i) nullipara, ii) higher age, iii) operational vaginal delivery or urgent CS, iv) did not receive analgesia during labor, v) induced labor. CB TRAIL was significantly higher (131.6±52 pg/ml) with respect to the corresponding maternal TRAIL, and the variables significantly associated with the first quartile of CB TRAIL (<90 pg/ml) were higher pre-pregnancy BMI, induction of labor and fetal distress. With respect to the biochemical parameters, maternal TRAIL at delivery showed an inverse correlation with C-reactive protein (CRP), total cortisol, glycemia and insulin at bivariate analysis, but only with CRP at multivariate analysis.


Stressful partum conditions and elevated CRP levels are associated with a decrease of circulating TRAIL.