T-helper 2-cytokine levels in women with threatened abortion

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2003 Nov 10;111(1):43-9. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(03)00119-2.


Objective: Considering that successful embryo development has been immunologically attributed to a T-helper 2 phenomenon and that threatened abortion is a very frequent but pathogenetically not well-defined clinical entity, our purpose was to investigate serum levels of the main T-helper 2-type cytokines during the evolution of this condition.

Study design: Three T-helper 2-type cytokines (interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-10 (IL-10), interleukin-13 (IL-13)) were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in serum of 12 women with threatened abortion both at hospital admission and discharge time. Fourteen women with missed abortion, 14 normal pregnant women and 14 normal non-pregnant women represent study control groups.

Results: Serum concentrations of the selected T-helper 2-type cytokines showed no significant differences in women with threatened abortion with those of normal pregnant and non-pregnant women, whereas showed significantly lower values in women with missed abortion.

Conclusion: Our data (a) confirm the concept that first-trimester normal pregnancy is a T-helper 2 phenomenon, (b) show that threatened abortion, when T-helper 2-biased, may tend to a positive evolution of the condition, (c) display that interleukin-10, particularly, may represent a useful diagnostic and prognostic marker for predicting the normal continuance of the pregnancy in threatened abortion, (d) confirm the existence of a T-helper 2-type pattern deficiency in missed abortion, and finally (e) may open the way to new T-helper 2-biased immune therapies in case of difficult first-trimester pregnancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Missed / blood
  • Abortion, Missed / immunology
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / blood*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / immunology*
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-13 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-10