Trace biomarkers associated with spontaneous preterm birth from the maternal serum metabolome of asymptomatic nulliparous women - parallel case-control studies from the SCOPE cohort.

Prediction of spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB) in asymptomatic women remains a great challenge; accurate and reproducible screening tools are still not available in clinical practice. We aimed to investigate whether the maternal serum metabolome together with clinical factors could be used to identify asymptomatic women at risk of sPTB. We conducted two case-control studies using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to analyse maternal serum samples collected at 15- and 20-weeks' gestation from 164 nulliparous women from Cork, and 157 from Auckland. Smoking and vaginal bleeding before 15 weeks were the only significant clinical predictors of sPTB for Auckland and Cork subsets, respectively. Decane, undecane, and dodecane were significantly associated with sPTB (FDR < 0.05) in the Cork subset. An odds ratio of 1.9 was associated with a one standard deviation increase in log (undecane) in a multiple logistic regression which also included vaginal bleeding as a predictor. In summary, elevated serum levels of the alkanes decane, undecane, and dodecane were associated with sPTB in asymptomatic nulliparous women from Cork, but not in the Auckland cohort. The association is not strong enough to be a useful clinical predictor, but suggests that further investigation of the association between oxidative stress processes and sPTB risk is warranted.




CC BY 4.0