Betamethasone effects on the endocervical inflammatory cytokines in preterm labor: a randomized clinical trial

Int Immunopharmacol. 2011 Aug;11(8):1116-9. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 Mar 23.


Objective: This study aimed to investigate the effect of betamethasone treatment on the endocervical concentration of IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, and TNF-α in preterm labor patients.

Study design: We studied 68 prime-gravid women in preterm labor between 34 and 37 weeks of gestation without clinical infection. Endocervical concentrations of inflammatory cytokines were assessed; immediately on admission and 48 h after administration of two doses of intramuscular betamethasone (12 mg/kg). Wilcoxon and Mann-Whitney tests along with χ(2) and Student's t tests were utilized for statistical analysis.

Results: In the betamethasone group IL-1β and TNF-α significantly decreased (P<0.001), and IL-6 and IL-4 increased (P: NS). Among patients delivered before or on the 7th day of admission IL-6 and TNF-α were higher at the most significant levels (P<0.001) compared to IL-1β and IL-4 (P: 0.001, 0.002 in respect).

Conclusion: Betamethasone can help induce the down regulation of endocervical inflammatory cytokines in patients with preterm labor.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Betamethasone / therapeutic use*
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / drug therapy
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / metabolism*
  • Placebos
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / complications
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • Placebos
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Betamethasone