Tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, and interleukin-6 in normal human pregnancy

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993 Aug;169(2 Pt 1):397-404. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(93)90096-2.


Objective: Our purpose was to investigate the cytokines, tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, and interleukin-6 in normal human pregnancy and labor.

Study design: Bioassays were used to measure these factors in extraembryonic coelomic fluid, amniotic fluid, placenta, and maternal and cord serum.

Results: Little or no tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, or interleukin-6 was found in coelomic fluid or amniotic fluid in the first trimester. Interleukin-6 appeared in second-trimester amniotic fluid. At term tumor necrosis factor was present (median 17 pg/ml) and increased with the onset of labor (median 58 pg/ml), as did interleukin-1 (median 188 to 680 pg/ml) and interleukin-6 (median 399 to 4800 pg/ml). Maternal serum interleukin-6 increased during pregnancy with a further increment with the onset of labor. Cord interleukin-6 also increased with labor but at a lower level.

Conclusion: The cytokines tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, and interleukin-6 may play a role in the onset of normal labor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / immunology
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / analysis*
  • Interleukin-1 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / analysis*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Labor, Obstetric / immunology
  • Placenta / immunology
  • Pregnancy / blood
  • Pregnancy / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha