Association of Maternal Inflammation During Pregnancy: Relationship with Birth Outcomes & Infant Growth Among Women with and without HIV in India

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JAMA Network Open

Importance  The association of elevated levels of specific inflammatory markers during pregnancy with adverse birth outcomes and infant growth could indicate pathways for potential interventions.

Objective  To evaluate whether higher levels of certain inflammatory markers during pregnancy are associated with preterm birth (PTB), low birth weight (LBW), and infant growth deficits.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In this cohort study of pregnant women with or without HIV, 218 mother-infant pairs were followed up from pregnancy through 12 months post partum from June 27, 2016, to December 9, 2019. Pregnant women aged 18 to 40 years and between 13 and 34 weeks of gestation who were receiving antenatal care were enrolled in a cohort stratified by HIV status; sampling was based on convenience sampling from women receiving antenatal care at Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Government Medical College.

Exposures  Levels of multiple circulating inflammation markers during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary study outcome was PTB (<37 weeks’ gestation). Secondary outcomes were LBW (<2500 g) and repeated measures (delivery; 6 weeks post partum; and 3, 6, and 12 months post partum using multivariable generalized linear models) of infant growth outcomes (length-for-age, weight-for-age, and weight-for-length z scores).

Results  The median age of the 218 women at enrollment was 23 years (IQR, 21-27 years). In multivariable models, higher pregnancy levels of interleukin 17A were associated with increased odds of both PTB (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.62; 95% CI, 1.11-6.17) and LBW (aOR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.04-3.15). Higher levels of interleukin 1β were associated with increased PTB (aOR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.15-1.89) and infant growth deficits (lower length-for-age z score: adjusted β = −0.10; 95% CI, −0.18 to −0.01; lower weight-for-age z score: adjusted β = −0.07; 95% CI, −0.14 to 0.001).

Conclusions and Relevance  This study suggests that increased levels of certain systemic inflammatory markers, including interleukin 1β and interleukin 17A, during pregnancy were associated with adverse birth outcomes and infant growth deficits. Future studies should evaluate whether potential interventions to modulate specific inflammatory pathways during pregnancy could improve birth outcomes and infant growth.

Shafiq M, Mathad JS, Naik S, Alexander M, Yadana S, Araújo-Pereira M, Kulkarni V, Deshpande P, Kumar NP, Babu S, Andrade BB, Leu CS, Khwaja S, Bhosale R, Kinikar A, Gupta A, Shivakoti R. Association of Maternal Inflammation During Pregnancy With Birth Outcomes and Infant Growth Among Women With or Without HIV in India. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Dec 1;4(12):e2140584. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.40584. PMID: 34935918; PMCID: PMC8696571.