Chorioamnionitis, IL-17A, and Fetal Origins of Neurologic Disease

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2018 May;79(5):e12803. doi: 10.1111/aji.12803. Epub 2017 Dec 22.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 323 infants have cerebral palsy. Highly correlated to intrauterine infection and inflammation, the incidence of cerebral palsy has remained constant over the last few decades despite significant advances in neonatal intensive care including improved ventilator techniques, surfactant therapy, maternal steroid administration, and use of intrapartum empiric antimicrobials. Recent advances in our understanding of immune responses to infection and inflammation have identified the cytokine IL-17A as a crucial component of early proinflammatory mediators that cause brain injury associated with neurologic impairment. Remarkably, maternal inflammatory responses to in utero inflammation and infection can also lead to potentially debilitating neurologic conditions in the offspring, which often become clinically apparent during childhood and/or early adulthood. This review details the role of IL-17A in fetal and maternal proinflammatory responses that lead to fetal brain injury and neurologic sequelae, including cerebral palsy. Recent findings regarding the role of maternal inflammatory responses in the development of childhood and adult neurologic conditions, such as autism, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis, will also be highlighted.

Keywords: IL-17A; autism; cerebral palsy; chorioamnionitis; neonates; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / immunology
  • Chorioamnionitis / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Interleukin-17