Problem: Various etiological factors, such as infection and inflammation, may induce the adverse outcomes of pregnancy of miscarriage, stillbirth, or preterm birth. The pathogenic mechanisms associated with these adverse pregnancies are yet unclear. We hypothesized that a common pathogenic mechanism may underlie variant adverse outcomes of pregnancy, which are induced by genetic-environmental factors. The specific objective of the current study is to uncover the common molecular mechanism(s) by identifying the specific transcripts that are present in variant subtypes of pregnancy loss and preterm birth. Method of Study: Transcriptomic profiling was performed with RNA expression microarray or RNA sequencing of placentas derived from pregnancy loss (which includes spontaneous miscarriage, recurrent miscarriage, and stillbirth) and spontaneous preterm birth, followed by bioinformatic analysis of multi-omic integration to identify pathogenic molecules and pathways involved in pathological pregnancies. Results: The enrichment of common differentially expressed genes between full-term birth and preterm birth and pregnancy loss of miscarriage and stillbirth revealed different pathophysiological pathway(s), including cytokine signaling dysregulated in spontaneous preterm birth, defense response, graft-versus-host disease, antigen processing and presentation, and T help cell differentiation in spontaneous miscarriage. Thirty-three genes shared between spontaneous preterm birth and spontaneous miscarriage were engaged in pathways of interferon gamma–mediated signaling and of antigen processing and presentation. For spontaneous miscarriage, immune response was enriched in the fetal tissue of chorionic villi and in the maternal facet of the placental sac. The transcript of nerve growth factor receptor was identified as the common molecule that is differentially expressed in all adverse pregnancies: spontaneous preterm birth, stillbirth, spontaneous miscarriage, and recurrent miscarriage. Superoxide dismutase 2 was up-regulated in all adverse outcomes of pregnancy except for recurrent miscarriage. Cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction was the common pathway in spontaneous preterm birth and spontaneous miscarriage. Defense response was enriched in the fetal tissue of miscarriage and in the maternal tissue in spontaneous miscarriage. Conclusions: Our results indicated that the chemokine-cytokine pathway may play important roles in and function as a common pathogenic mechanism associated with, the different adverse outcomes of pregnancy, which demonstrated that differentially expressed transcripts could result from a common pathogenic mechanism associated with pregnancy loss and spontaneous preterm birth, although individual pregnancy outcomes may differ from each other phenotypically.
- Preterm birth
- pregnancy loss