Temporal Patterns in Sheep Fetal Heart Rate Variability Correlate to Systemic Cytokine Inflammatory Response: A Methodological Exploration of Monitoring Potential Using Complex Signals Bioinformatics.
ABSTRACT: Fetal inflammation is associated with increased risk for postnatal organ injuries. No means of early detection exist. We hypothesized that systemic fetal inflammation leads to distinct alterations of fetal heart rate variability (fHRV). We tested this hypothesis deploying a novel series of approaches from complex signals bioinformatics. In chronically instrumented near-term fetal sheep, we induced an inflammatory response with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injected intravenously (n = 10) observing it over 54 hours; seven additional fetuses served as controls. Fifty-one fHRV measures were determined continuously every 5 minutes using Continuous Individualized Multi-organ Variability Analysis (CIMVA). CIMVA creates an fHRV measures matrix across five signal-analytical domains, thus describing complementary properties of fHRV. We implemented, validated and tested methodology to obtain a subset of CIMVA fHRV measures that matched best the temporal profile of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6. In the LPS group, IL-6 peaked at 3 hours. For the LPS, but not control group, a sharp increase in standardized difference in variability with respect to baseline levels was observed between 3 h and 6 h abating to baseline levels, thus tracking closely the IL-6 inflammatory profile. We derived fHRV inflammatory index (FII) consisting of 15 fHRV measures reflecting the fetal inflammatory response with prediction accuracy of 90%. Hierarchical clustering validated the selection of 14 out of 15 fHRV measures comprising FII. We developed methodology to identify a distinctive subset of fHRV measures that tracks inflammation over time. The broader potential of this bioinformatics approach is discussed to detect physiological responses encoded in HRV measures.
Project description:Fetal inflammatory response occurs during chorioamnionitis, a frequent and often subclinical inflammation associated with increased risk for brain injury and life-lasting neurologic deficits. No means of early detection exist. We hypothesized that systemic fetal inflammation without septic shock will be reflected in alterations of fetal heart rate (FHR) variability (fHRV) distinguishing baseline versus inflammatory response states. In chronically instrumented near-term fetal sheep (n = 24), we induced an inflammatory response with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injected intravenously (n = 14). Ten additional fetuses served as controls. We measured fetal plasma inflammatory cytokine IL-6 at baseline, 1, 3, 6, 24 and 48?h. 44 fHRV measures were determined continuously every 5?min using continuous individualized multi-organ variability analysis (CIMVA). CIMVA creates an fHRV measures matrix across five signal-analytical domains, thus describing complementary properties of fHRV. Using principal component analysis (PCA), a widely used technique for dimensionality reduction, we derived and quantitatively compared the CIMVA fHRV PCA signatures of inflammatory response in LPS and control groups. In the LPS group, IL-6 peaked at 3?h. In parallel, PCA-derived fHRV composite measures revealed a significant difference between LPS and control group at different time points. For the LPS group, a sharp increase compared to baseline levels was observed between 3?h and 6?h, and then abating to baseline levels, thus tracking closely the IL-6 inflammatory profile. This pattern was not observed in the control group. We also show that a preselection of fHRV measures prior to the PCA can potentially increase the difference between LPS and control groups, as early as 1?h post LPS injection. We propose a fHRV composite measure that correlates well with levels of inflammation and tracks well its temporal profile. Our results highlight the potential role of HRV to study and monitor the inflammatory response non-invasively over time.
Project description:Maternal control of inflammation is essential during pregnancy and an exaggerated response is one of the underlying causes of fetal loss. Inflammatory response is mediated by multiple factors and Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are central. Activation of TLRs results in NALP-3 mediated assembly of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) and caspase-1 into the inflammasome and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1? and IL-18. Given that preventing measures are lacking, we investigated PreImplantation Factor (PIF) as therapeutic option as PIF modulates Inflammation in pregnancy. Additionally, synthetic PIF (PIF analog) protects against multiple immune disorders. We used a LPS induced murine model of fetal loss and synthetic PIF reduced this fetal loss and increased the embryo weight significantly. We detected increased PIF expression in the placentae after LPS insult. The LPS induced serum and placenta cytokines were abolished by synthetic PIF treatment and importantly synthetic PIF modulated key members of inflammasome complex NALP-3, ASC, and caspase-1 as well. In conclusion our results indicate that synthetic PIF protects against LPS induced fetal loss, likely through modulation of inflammatory response especially the inflammasome complex. Given that synthetic PIF is currently tested in autoimmune diseases of non-pregnant subjects (clinicaltrials.gov, NCT02239562), therapeutic approach during pregnancy can be envisioned.
Project description:<h4>Rationale</h4>Chorioamnionitis frequently associates with preterm delivery and increased amniotic fluid IL-1, and causes fetal lung and systemic inflammation. However, chorioamnionitis is also associated with a paradoxical reduction in the incidence of surfactant deficiency-related respiratory distress syndrome in preterm infants.<h4>Objectives</h4>To identify the role of IL-1 signaling in the mediation of pulmonary and systemic inflammation and lung maturation in a fetal sheep model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced chorioamnionitis.<h4>Methods</h4>After confirming the efficacy of recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist (rhIL-1ra), fetal sheep were exposed to intraamniotic (IA) injections of Escherichia coli LPS with or without prior IA injections of rhIL-1ra. Preterm lambs were delivered at 82% of term gestation.<h4>Measurements and main results</h4>rhIL-1ra decreased IA LPS-induced lung inflammation assessed by decreased lung neutrophil and monocyte influx, inducible nitric oxide synthase expression, lung IL-6 and IL-1beta mRNA expression, and airway myeloperoxidase concentrations. rhIL-1ra inhibited IA LPS-induced fetal systemic inflammation assessed by decreased plasma IL-8, protein carbonyls, blood neutrophilia, and the expression of serum amyloid A3 mRNA in the liver. rhIL-1ra also partially blocked the lung maturational effects of IA LPS. Therefore blockade of IL-1 signaling in the amniotic compartment inhibited fetal lung and systemic inflammation and lung maturation in response to LPS-induced chorioamnionitis.<h4>Conclusions</h4>IL-1 plays a central role in the pathogenesis of chorioamnionitis-induced fetal inflammatory responses.
Project description:We tested the hypothesis that interleukin 1 (IL-1) mediates intra-amniotic lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced chorioamnionitis in preterm fetal sheep. Time-mated Merino ewes with singleton fetuses received IL-1?, LPS, or saline (control) by intra-amniotic injection 1 to 2 days before operative delivery at 124 ± 1 days gestational age (N = 5-9/group; term = 150 days). Recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist (rhIL-1ra) was given into the amniotic fluid 3 hours before intra-amniotic LPS or saline to block IL-1 signaling. Inflammation in the chorioamnion was determined by histology, cytokine messenger RNA (mRNA), protein expression, and by quantitation of activated inflammatory cells. Intra-amniotic IL-1 and LPS both induced chorioamnionitis. However, IL-1 blockade with IL-1ra did not decrease intra-amniotic LPS-induced increases in pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNAs, numbers of inflammatory cells, myeloperoxidase, or monocyte chemotactic protein-1-expressing cells in the chorioamnion. We conclude that IL-1 and LPS both can cause chorioamnionitis, but IL-1 is not an important mediator of LPS-induced chorioamnionitis in fetal sheep.
Project description:Chorioamnionitis is associated with preterm labor and fetal inflammatory response syndrome (FIRS), causing fetal organ injury and morbidity, particularly in extremely premature infants. However, the effects of inflammation on the fetal immune system remain poorly understood, due to the difficulty of studying immune development in infants. Therefore, we used the model of intra-amniotic LPS administered at ?80% gestation in rhesus monkeys to cause chorioamnionitis and FIRS that is similar in human pathology. Importantly, the frequency of IL-17(+) and IL-22(+) CD4(+) T cells increased in the spleen of LPS-exposed fetuses, whereas regulatory T cell (Treg) frequency decreased. These changes persisted for at least 48 h. Notably, Th17 cytokines were predominantly expressed by FOXP3(+)CD4(+) T cells and not by their FOXP3(-) counterparts. Bifunctional IL-17(+)FOXP3(+) exhibited a phenotype of inflammatory Tregs (RORc(High/+), Helios(Low/-), IL-2(+), IFN-?(+), and IL-8(+)) compared with typical FOXP3(+) cells. Diminished splenic Treg frequency in LPS-exposed fetuses was associated with inadequate Treg generation in the thymus. Mechanistically, the emergence of inflammatory Tregs was largely dependent on IL-1 signaling. However, blockage of IL-1R signaling did not abolish the deleterious effects of LPS on Treg frequency in the thymus or spleen. Collectively, we demonstrate that a prenatal inflammatory environment leads to inadequate Treg generation in the thymus with a switch of splenic Tregs toward an inflammatory phenotype. Both processes likely contribute to the pathogenesis of chorioamnionitis. Approaches to manipulate Treg numbers and function could thus be useful therapeutically to alleviate FIRS in preterm infants.
Project description:Background: Preterm birth is a known leading cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity. The underlying causes of pregnancy-associated complications are numerous, but infection and inflammation are the essential high-risk factors. However, there are no safe and effective preventive drugs that can be applied to pregnant women. Objective: The objectives of the study were to investigate a natural product, Abeliophyllum distichum leaf (ADL) extract, to examine the possibility of preventing preterm birth caused by inflammation. Methods: We used a mouse preterm birth model by intraperitoneally injecting lipopolysaccharides (LPS). ELISA, Western blot, real-time PCR and immunofluorescence staining analyses were performed to confirm the anti-inflammatory efficacy and related mechanisms of the ADL extracts. Cytotoxicity and cell death were measured using Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) analysis and flow cytometer. Results: A daily administration of ADL extract significantly reduced preterm birth, fetal loss, and fetal growth restriction after an intraperitoneal injection of LPS in mice. The ADL extract prevented the LPS-induced expression of TNF-? in maternal serum and amniotic fluid and attenuated the LPS-induced upregulation of placental proinflammatory genes, including IL-1?, IL-6, IL-12p40, and TNF-? and the chemokine gene CXCL-1, CCL-2, CCL3, and CCL-4. LPS-treated THP-1 cell-conditioned medium accelerated trophoblast cell death, and TNF-? played an essential role in this effect. The ADL extract reduced LPS-treated THP-1 cell-conditioned medium-induced trophoblast cell death by inhibiting MAPKs and the NF-?B pathway in macrophages. ADL extract prevented exogenous TNF-?-induced increased trophoblast cell death and decreased cell viability. Conclusions: We have demonstrated that the inhibition of LPS-induced inflammation by ADL extract can prevent preterm birth, fetal loss, and fetal growth restriction.
Project description:Prenatal inflammation is considered an important factor contributing to preterm birth and neonatal mortality and morbidity. The impact of prenatal inflammation on fetal bioenergetic status and the correlation of specific metabolites to inflammatory-induced developmental brain injury are unknown. We used a global metabolomics approach to examine plasma metabolites differentially regulated by intrauterine inflammation. Preterm-equivalent sheep fetuses were randomized to i.v. bolus infusion of either saline-vehicle or LPS. Blood samples were collected at baseline 2 h, 6 h and daily up to 10 days for metabolite quantification. Animals were killed at 10 days after LPS injection, and brain injury was assessed by histopathology. We detected both acute and delayed effects of LPS on fetal metabolism, with a long-term down-regulation of fetal energy metabolism. Within the first 3 days after LPS, 121 metabolites were up-regulated or down-regulated. A transient phase (4-6 days), in which metabolite levels recovered to baseline, was followed by a second phase marked by an opposing down-regulation of energy metabolites, increased pO(2) and increased markers of inflammation and ADMA. The characteristics of the metabolite response to LPS in these two phases, defined as 2 h to 2 days and at 6-9 days, respectively, were strongly correlated with white and grey matter volumes at 10 days recovery. Based on these results we propose a novel concept of inflammatory-induced hibernation of the fetus. Inflammatory priming of fetal metabolism correlated with measures of brain injury, suggesting potential for future biomarker research and the identification of therapeutic targets.
Project description:To determine whether the acute anti-inflammatory influence of epinephrine (EPI) extends to changes in heart rate variability (HRV) induced by the prototypical inflammatory stimulus, endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS]).HRV reflects fluctuating cardiac autonomic inputs and is acutely reduced during the systemic inflammation induced by LPS as well as during severe critical illnesses such as sepsis and traumatic injury. While EPI may diminish proinflammatory cytokine release, it is unknown whether this net anti-inflammatory activity extends to HRV.Healthy volunteers (n = 17) were randomized to either saline + LPS (2 ng/kg) or LPS + antecedent EPI infusion (30 ng/kg/min) from -3 to 6 hours relative to LPS. HRV and blood samples were obtained before EPI and LPS as well as hourly afterward. Plasma cytokines were measured by ELISA. Statistical analysis was by repeated measures analysis of variance. This study was registered at Clinicaltrials.gov and is listed under the following ID number: NCT00753402.LPS acutely influenced all measured parameters of HRV including standard deviation of the average beat to beat intervals over a 5-minute period, percentage of interval differences of successive interbeat intervals greater than 50 milliseconds and square root of the mean squared differences, high frequency (HF), low frequency, low frequency/HF, and very low frequency (all P < 0.01). EPI infusion reduced the inflammatory cytokine response to LPS as measured by decreased TNFalpha, IL-6, and IL-8 (P < 0.01). Relative to the saline + LPS group, antecedent EPI infusion was associated with further reductions in parameters of HRV measuring vagal/parasympathetic activity including, percentage of interval differences of successive interbeat intervals greater than 50 milliseconds, square root of the mean squared differences, and HF (P < 0.05).Prior EPI exposure exerts anti-inflammatory influences but also may reduce vagus nerve activity. Hence, acute EPI administration may be protective against early inflammatory challenges but diminish vagal nerve responsiveness to subsequent stimuli.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Neuroinflammation in utero may result in life-long neurological disabilities. The molecular mechanisms whereby microglia contribute to this response remain incompletely understood. METHODS:Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or saline were administered intravenously to non-anesthetized chronically instrumented near-term fetal sheep to model fetal inflammation in vivo. Microglia were then isolated from in vivo LPS and saline (naïve) exposed animals. To mimic the second hit of neuroinflammation, these microglia were then re-exposed to LPS in vitro. Cytokine responses were measured in vivo and subsequently in vitro in the primary microglia cultures derived from these animals. We sequenced the whole transcriptome of naïve and second hit microglia and profiled their genetic expression to define molecular pathways disrupted during neuroinflammation. RESULTS:In vivo LPS exposure resulted in IL-6 increase in fetal plasma 3 h post LPS exposure. Even though not histologically apparent, microglia acquired a pro-inflammatory phenotype in vivo that was sustained and amplified in vitro upon second hit LPS exposure as measured by IL-1? response in vitro and RNAseq analyses. While NFKB and Jak-Stat inflammatory pathways were up regulated in naïve microglia, heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1) and Fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBP) genes were uniquely differentially expressed in the second hit microglia. Compared to the microglia exposed to LPS in vitro only, the transcriptome of the in vivo LPS pre-exposed microglia showed a diminished differential gene expression in inflammatory and metabolic pathways prior and upon re-exposure to LPS in vitro. Notably, this desensitization response was also observed in histone deacetylases (HDAC) 1, 2, 4, and 6. Microglial calreticulin/LRP genes implicated in microglia-neuronal communication relevant for the neuronal development were up regulated in second hit microglia. DISCUSSION:We identified a unique HMOX1 down and FBP (up) phenotype of microglia exposed to the double-hit suggesting interplay of inflammatory and metabolic pathways. Our findings suggest that epigenetic mechanisms mediate this immunological and metabolic memory of the prior inflammatory insult relevant to neuronal development and provide new therapeutic targets for early postnatal intervention to prevent brain injury.
Project description:Prolactin (PRL) plays an important role in trophoblast growth, placental angiogenesis and immunomodulation within the feto-maternal interface, where different cell types secrete PRL and express its receptor. During pregnancy, inflammatory signalling is a deleterious event that has been associated with poor fetal outcomes. The placenta is highly responsive to the inflammatory stimulus; however, the actions of PRL in placental immunity and inflammation remain largely unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate PRL effects on the TLR4/NFkB signalling cascade and associated inflammatory targets in cultured explants from healthy term human placentas. An in utero inflammatory scenario was mimicked using lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from Escherichia coli. PRL significantly reduced LPS-dependent TNF-?, IL-1? and IL-6 secretion and intracellular levels. Mechanistically, PRL prevented LPS-mediated upregulation of TLR-4 expression and NF?B phosphorylation. In conclusion, PRL limited inflammatory responses to LPS in the human placenta, suggesting that this hormone could be critical in inhibiting exacerbated immune responses to infections that could threaten pregnancy outcome. This is the first evidence of a mechanism for anti-inflammatory activity of PRL in the human placenta, acting as a negative regulator of TLR-4/NFkB signaling.