• Plasma-mediated vascular dysfunction in the reduced uterine perfusion pressure model of preeclampsia: a microvascular characterization.

      Walsh, Sarah K; English, Fred A; Johns, Edward J; Kenny, Louise C; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. S.Walsh@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia is associated with widespread maternal vascular dysfunction, which is thought to be mediated by circulating factor(s). The aim of the study was to characterize vascular function in the reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) rat model of preeclampsia and to investigate the role of plasma factors in mediating any observed changes in vascular reactivity. Mean arterial blood pressure and vascular function were measured in RUPP and control rats. Mesenteric vessels from both virgin and pregnant rats were exposed for 1 hour or overnight to plasma from both RUPP and control rats and their vascular function assessed. RUPP rats were characterized by severe hypertension, restricted fetal growth, and reduced placental weight (P<0.001). Vasorelaxation was impaired in resistance vessels from RUPP compared with control rats (acetylcholine: R(max) 70+/-3 versus 92+/-1 [NP] and 93+/-3% [sham], P<0.01; bradykinin: 40+/-2 versus 62+/-2 [NP] and 59+/-4% [sham], P<0.001). Incubation of vessels from pregnant (but not virgin) animals with RUPP plasma overnight resulted in an attenuation of vasorelaxant responses (acetylcholine: 63+/-7 versus 86+/-2%, P<0.05; bradykinin: 35+/-5 versus 55+/-6%, P<0.001). The residual relaxant response in RUPP plasma-treated vessels was not further attenuated after treatment with N(omega)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (acetylcholine: 57+/-7 versus 63+/-7%, ns; bradykinin: 37+/-5 versus 35+/-5%, ns). The RUPP rat model is characterized by an impaired response to vasodilators which may be attributable to one or more circulating factors. This plasma-mediated endothelial dysfunction appears to be a pregnancy-dependent effect. Furthermore, nitric oxide-mediated vasorelaxation appears to be absent in RUPP plasma-treated vessels.
    • The pool chlorine hypothesis and asthma among boys.

      Cotter, A; Ryan, C A; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, UCC, Cork University Maternity, Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Swimming pool sanitation has largely been concerned with the microbiological quality of pool water, which is normally treated using a number of chlorine products. Recent studies have pointed to the potential hazards of chlorine by-products to the respiratory epithelium, particularly in indoor, poorly ventilated, pools. The aim of our study was to elucidate whether chronic exposure to indoor chlorinated swimming pools was associated with an increased likelihood of the development of asthma in boys. METHODS: The subjects were boys aged between 6 and 12 years. Data was collected by means of parental responses to a standardized asthma questionnaire (ISAAC: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood), supplemented with additional questions regarding frequency of attendance, number of years attendance, whether the child is a swimming team member. The questionnaire return rate was 71/% (n = 121). 23 boys were excluded on the basis that they had asthma before they started swimming (n = 97). There was a significant association between number of years a boy had been swimming and the likelihood of wheezing in the last 12 months (p = 0.009; OR = 1.351; 95% CI = 1.077-1.693) and diagnosed asthma (p = 0.046; OR = 1.299; 95% CI = 1.004-1.506). The greater the number the number of years a boy had been attending an indoor, chlorinated pool, the greater the likelihood of wheezing in the last 12 months or "had asthma". Age, parental smoking habits and being a swimming team member had no association with any of the asthma variables examined. Swimming pool attendance may be a risk factor in asthma in boys.
    • Pregnancy and the risk of autoimmune disease.

      Khashan, Ali S; Kenny, Louise C; Laursen, Thomas M; Mahmood, Uzma; Mortensen, Preben B; Henriksen, Tine B; O'Donoghue, Keelin; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cork University, Maternity Hospital, University College Cork, Wilton, Cork, Republic of Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Autoimmune diseases (AID) predominantly affect women of reproductive age. While basic molecular studies have implicated persisting fetal cells in the mother in some AID, supportive epidemiological evidence is limited. We investigated the effect of vaginal delivery, caesarean section (CS) and induced abortion on the risk of subsequent maternal AID. Using the Danish Civil Registration System (CRS) we identified women who were born between 1960 and 1992. We performed data linkage between the CRS other Danish national registers to identify women who had a pregnancy and those who developed AID. Women were categorised into 4 groups; nulligravida (control group), women who had 1st child by vaginal delivery, whose 1st delivery was by CS and who had abortions. Log-linear Poisson regression with person-years was used for data analysis adjusting for several potential confounders. There were 1,035,639 women aged >14 years and 25,570 developed AID: 43.4% nulligravida, 44.3% had their first pregnancy delivered vaginally, 7.6% CS and 4.1% abortions. The risk of AID was significantly higher in the 1st year after vaginal delivery (RR = 1.1[1.0, 1.2]) and CS (RR = 1.3[1.1, 1.5]) but significantly lower in the 1st year following abortion (RR = 0.7[0.6, 0.9]). These results suggest an association between pregnancy and the risk of subsequent maternal AID. Increased risks of AID after CS may be explained by amplified fetal cell traffic at delivery, while decreased risks after abortion may be due to the transfer of more primitive fetal stem cells. The increased risk of AID in the first year after delivery may also be related to greater testing during pregnancy.
    • Risk of affective disorders following prenatal exposure to severe life events: a Danish population-based cohort study.

      Khashan, Ali S; McNamee, Roseanne; Henriksen, Tine B; Pedersen, Marianne G; Kenny, Louise C; Abel, Kathryn M; Mortensen, Preben B; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University College , Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. a.khashan@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of prenatal exposure to severe life events on risk of affective disorders in the offspring. METHODS: In a cohort of 1.1 million Danish births from May 1978 until December 1997, mothers were considered exposed if one (or more) of their close relatives died or was diagnosed with serious illness up to 6 months before conception or during pregnancy. Offspring were followed up from their 10th birthday until their death, migration, onset of affective disorder or 31 December 2007; hospital admissions were identified by linkage to the Central Psychiatric Register. Log-linear Poisson regression was used for data analysis. RESULTS: The risk of affective disorders was increased in male offspring whose mothers were exposed to severe life events during the second trimester (adjusted RR 1.55 [95% CI 1.05-2.28]). There was an increased risk of male offspring affective disorders in relation to maternal exposure to death of a relative in the second trimester (adjusted RR 1.74 [95% CI 1.06-2.84]) or serious illness in a relative before pregnancy (adjusted RR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02-2.05]). There was no evidence for an association between prenatal exposure to severe life events and risk of female offspring affective disorders. CONCLUSIONS: Our population-based study suggests that prenatal maternal exposure to severe life events may increase the risk of affective disorders in male offspring. These findings are consistent with studies of populations exposed to famine and earthquake disasters which indicate that prenatal environment may influence the neurodevelopment of the unborn child.
    • Robust early pregnancy prediction of later preeclampsia using metabolomic biomarkers.

      Kenny, Louise C; Broadhurst, David I; Dunn, Warwick; Brown, Marie; North, Robyn A; McCowan, Lesley; Roberts, Claire; Cooper, Garth J S; Kell, Douglas B; Baker, Philip N; et al. (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific syndrome that causes substantial maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. The etiology is incompletely understood, and there is no clinically useful screening test. Current metabolomic technologies have allowed the establishment of metabolic signatures of preeclampsia in early pregnancy. Here, a 2-phase discovery/validation metabolic profiling study was performed. In the discovery phase, a nested case-control study was designed, using samples obtained at 15+/-1 weeks' gestation from 60 women who subsequently developed preeclampsia and 60 controls taking part in the prospective Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints cohort study. Controls were proportionally population matched for age, ethnicity, and body mass index at booking. Plasma samples were analyzed using ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. A multivariate predictive model combining 14 metabolites gave an odds ratio for developing preeclampsia of 36 (95% CI: 12 to 108), with an area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.94. These findings were then validated using an independent case-control study on plasma obtained at 15+/-1 weeks from 39 women who subsequently developed preeclampsia and 40 similarly matched controls from a participating center in a different country. The same 14 metabolites produced an odds ratio of 23 (95% CI: 7 to 73) with an area under receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.92. The finding of a consistent discriminatory metabolite signature in early pregnancy plasma preceding the onset of preeclampsia offers insight into disease pathogenesis and offers the tantalizing promise of a robust presymptomatic screening test.
    • Secondary recurrent miscarriage is associated with previous male birth.

      Ooi, Poh Veh; Russell, Noirin; O'Donoghue, Keelin; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Secondary recurrent miscarriage (RM) is defined as three or more consecutive pregnancy losses after delivery of a viable infant. Previous reports suggest that a firstborn male child is associated with less favourable subsequent reproductive potential, possibly due to maternal immunisation against male-specific minor histocompatibility antigens. In a retrospective cohort study of 85 cases of secondary RM we aimed to determine if secondary RM was associated with (i) gender of previous child, maternal age, or duration of miscarriage history, and (ii) increased risk of pregnancy complications. Fifty-three women (62.0%; 53/85) gave birth to a male child prior to RM compared to 32 (38.0%; 32/85) who gave birth to a female child (p=0.002). The majority (91.7%; 78/85) had uncomplicated, term deliveries and normal birth weight neonates, with one quarter of the women previously delivered by Caesarean section. All had routine RM investigations and 19.0% (16/85) had an abnormal result. Fifty-seven women conceived again and 33.3% (19/57) miscarried, but there was no significant difference in failure rates between those with a previous male or female child (13/32 vs. 6/25, p=0.2). When patients with abnormal results were excluded, or when women with only one previous child were considered, there was still no difference in these rates. A previous male birth may be associated with an increased risk of secondary RM but numbers preclude concluding whether this increases recurrence risk. The suggested association with previous male birth provides a basis for further investigations at a molecular level.
    • Secondary recurrent miscarriage is associated with previous male birth.

      Ooi, Poh Veh; Russell, Noirin; O'Donoghue, Keelin; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. (2011-01)
      Secondary recurrent miscarriage (RM) is defined as three or more consecutive pregnancy losses after delivery of a viable infant. Previous reports suggest that a firstborn male child is associated with less favourable subsequent reproductive potential, possibly due to maternal immunisation against male-specific minor histocompatibility antigens. In a retrospective cohort study of 85 cases of secondary RM we aimed to determine if secondary RM was associated with (i) gender of previous child, maternal age, or duration of miscarriage history, and (ii) increased risk of pregnancy complications. Fifty-three women (62.0%; 53/85) gave birth to a male child prior to RM compared to 32 (38.0%; 32/85) who gave birth to a female child (p=0.002). The majority (91.7%; 78/85) had uncomplicated, term deliveries and normal birth weight neonates, with one quarter of the women previously delivered by Caesarean section. All had routine RM investigations and 19.0% (16/85) had an abnormal result. Fifty-seven women conceived again and 33.3% (19/57) miscarried, but there was no significant difference in failure rates between those with a previous male or female child (13/32 vs. 6/25, p=0.2). When patients with abnormal results were excluded, or when women with only one previous child were considered, there was still no difference in these rates. A previous male birth may be associated with an increased risk of secondary RM but numbers preclude concluding whether this increases recurrence risk. The suggested association with previous male birth provides a basis for further investigations at a molecular level.