Assessment of predictive markers for placental inflammatory response in preterm births

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 7;9(10):e107880. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107880. eCollection 2014.


Placental inflammatory response (PIR) is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes such as sepsis, cerebral palsy, low birth weight, preterm birth, and neonatal mortality. However, there is an urgent need for noninvasive and sensitive biomarkers for prediction of PIR. In this study, we evaluated the clinical usefulness of maternal serum inflammatory markers for prediction of PIR in women with impending preterm birth. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 483 patients who delivered preterm neonates. Serum levels of leukocyte differential counts, C-reactive protein (CRP), and neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) were compared between women with no placental inflammation and women with PIR. The mean neutrophil counts, CRP levels, and NLR in both the patients with histologic chorioamnionitis (HCA) alone and those with HCA with funisitis were significantly higher than those in women with no placental inflammation. Compared to leukocyte subset or CRP, NLR in women with funisitis was significantly higher than in women with HCA alone and showed higher predictive accuracy, along with 71.4% sensitivity, 77.9% specificity, 80.7% positive predictive value, and 67.8% negative predictive value for prediction of PIR. On Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, women with both an elevated level of CRP and a high NLR had a shorter admission-to-delivery interval compared to women with either an elevated level of CRP or a high NLR alone. NLR may be a predictive marker of PIR and could be used as a cost-effective parameter for identifying women at risk of PIR.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Chorioamnionitis / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Placenta Diseases / metabolism*
  • Placenta Diseases / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Premature Birth / blood
  • Premature Birth / diagnosis
  • Premature Birth / metabolism*
  • Premature Birth / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.