The effects of labor on differential gene expression in parturient women, placentas, and fetuses at term pregnancy

Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2011 Nov;27(11):494-502. doi: 10.1016/j.kjms.2011.06.012. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


Labor and its associated pain are thought to have unique impacts on parturient women. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of labor and associated pain on differential gene expression profiles in the maternal, fetal, and placental compartments. We used microarrays to analyze maternal blood (MB), fetal cord blood (CB), and placental tissue samples in pregnant women after term vaginal deliveries (laboring group) and in term pregnant women after scheduled Ceasarean sections (nonlaboring group). The upregulated genes in the MB of the laboring group are involved in cytokine and nuclear factor-kappa B signaling pathways, regulation of the networks of toll-like receptor 4, and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3. Upregulated genes in the CB of the laboring group are involved in responding to stress and stimuli by regulating the network genes of the T-cell receptor beta locus and the FK506 binding protein 8. Differentially expressed genes in the placenta of the laboring group are involved in nitric oxide transport, gas transport, response to hydrostatic pressure, oxygen transport, acute phase responses, and the tumor necrosis factor-mediated signaling pathway, which are important during the transient hypoxemia and hypoperfusion that occur in the placenta during uterine contractions. Interestingly, few of the genes exhibited simultaneous changes in all three compartments, indicating that different pathways and complex interactions may be involved in human labor. In conclusion, human labor and its associated pain elicit unique gene regulatory changes in MB, placenta, and CB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenomedullin / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • Fetus / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Labor Pain / genetics
  • Labor Pain / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy / genetics
  • Pregnancy / metabolism*
  • Term Birth / genetics
  • Term Birth / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • ADM protein, human
  • GDF15 protein, human
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15
  • Adrenomedullin