Background: Preterm Birth (PTB) is one of the main causes of neonatal death and infant mortality and morbidity. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a major proinflammatory mediator of the host response to infection and malondialdehyde (MDA) is a marker of oxidative stress.
Objective: To evaluate potential associations between IL-6 and MDA levels in women with preterm birth.
Methods: A total of 150 women (66 with full-term and 84 with PTB) were enrolled in this case-control study. Predesigned performas were filled through questionnaire interviews to collect data on personal, demographic, occupational, lifestyle and reproductive history. Blood samples were collected within 36 hours of delivery. Serum concentrations of IL-6 and MDA were determined in mothers with full-term and preterm birth.
Results: The mean age was marginally higher; whereas BMI was slightly lower in cases (PTB) as compared to controls (full-term) subjects. Serum IL-6 and MDA levels were significantly higher in subjects with PTB than full-term birth. The data were further analyzed with respect to underweight, normal and overweight/obese BMI. In all the BMI categories, the levels of IL-6 and MDA were higher in PTB cases. Among the PTB categories, the levels of IL-6 and MDA were highest in moderate to late preterm birth. A significant positive correlation was found between IL-6 and MDA levels. There was a weak negative correlation between either IL-6 or MDA and the number of gestational weeks.
Conclusion: Elevated maternal serum levels of Interleukin-6 and Malondialdehyde in preterm as compared to full-term birth might suggest that inflammation and oxidative stress play a critical role in PTB.