The biomechanics of amnion rupture: an X-ray diffraction study

PLoS One. 2007 Nov 7;2(11):e1147. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001147.


Pre-term birth is the leading cause of perinatal and neonatal mortality, 40% of which are attributed to the pre-term premature rupture of amnion. Rupture of amnion is thought to be associated with a corresponding decrease in the extracellular collagen content and/or increase in collagenase activity. However, there is very little information concerning the detailed organisation of fibrillar collagen in amnion and how this might influence rupture. Here we identify a loss of lattice like arrangement in collagen organisation from areas near to the rupture site, and present a 9% increase in fibril spacing and a 50% decrease in fibrillar organisation using quantitative measurements gained by transmission electron microscopy and the novel application of synchrotron X-ray diffraction. These data provide an accurate insight into the biomechanical process of amnion rupture and highlight X-ray diffraction as a new and powerful tool in our understanding of this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amnion*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Extraembryonic Membranes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Pregnancy
  • X-Ray Diffraction