Amniotic fluid defensins: potential markers of subclinical intrauterine infection.


Journal Article

Human neutrophil peptides 1-3 (defensins) are granule constituents released from activated neutrophils. We hypothesized that amniotic fluid (AF) defensin levels are elevated in preterm labor (PTL) patients with subclinical intrauterine infection (IUI). AF samples were obtained from 203 pregnant patients with varying clinical characteristics. Defensin levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Median AF defensin levels were fourfold to 24-fold higher in patients with IUI than in preterm and term controls. Among patients with subclinical IUI, the degree of AF defensin elevation was greater in those with a positive AF culture. AF defensin levels increased exponentially with increasing severity of histologic chorioamnionitis. An AF defensin level of > 2,500 ng/mL identified 88% of patients with a positive AF culture, whereas a level of > 400 ng/mL identified 85% of all infected patients. AF defensin levels accurately identify patients with subclinical IUI, as defined by a positive AF culture or placental histology.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Heine, RP; Wiesenfeld, H; Mortimer, L; Greig, PC

Published Date

  • September 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 513 - 518

PubMed ID

  • 9770150

Pubmed Central ID

  • 9770150

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-6591

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1058-4838

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/514691


  • eng