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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the First and Second European Workshops on Preterm Labour of the Special Non-Invasive Advances in Fetal and Neonatal Evaluation (SAFE) Network of Excellence

Open Access Proceedings

Reductionist and system approaches to study the role of infection in preterm labor and delivery

Piotr Laudanski*, Piotr Pierzynski and Tadeusz Laudanski

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathophysiology of Pregnancy, ul. Marii Sklodowskiej-Curie 24a 15-243 Bialystok, Medical University of Bialystok, Poland

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2007, 7(Suppl 1):S9  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-S1-S9

Published: 1 June 2007


A substantial number of patients with preterm labor and delivery do not show clinical signs of infection, however, it is the subclinical form which is the main causative factor and often results in premature delivery. The hitherto commonly applied methods of inflammation detection are based either on potentially hazardous amniocentesis or still insufficient inflammation-related protein measurement in the serum or other biological fluids.

The advent of new "omics" technologies has led to a paradigm-shift in experimental approach which tends to primarily generate rather than form hypotheses. This has resulted in a surge of wealth of data composed of sets of individual or clusters of new genes and proteins that can be of potential importance as new markers of inflammation leading to preterm labor. It is hoped that as a result of those new methodologies the overall perception of medical research and practice would gradually change from reductionist to systems approach. Despite several successes of reductionism in the diagnosis and treatment of preterm labor it seems that system-based methodology would contribute to a more favorable personalized rather than one-for-all patient assistance. In this review we present the current knowledge on this new attractive field of medical studies with emphasis on early detection of infection related with preterm labor.