Open Access Short Report

Influence of maternal age, gestational age and fetal gender on expression of immune mediators in amniotic fluid

Tobias Weissenbacher1*, Rüdiger P Laubender4, Steven S Witkin2, Andrea Gingelmaier1, Barbara Schiessl3, Franziskus Kainer1, Klaus Friese1, Udo Jeschke1, Darius Dian1 and Katrin Karl1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Maistrasse 11, Munich, 80337, Germany

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, USA

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital, Aachen, Germany

4 Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:375  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-375

Published: 24 July 2012



Variations in cytokine and immune mediator expression patterns in amniotic fluid due to gestational age, maternal age and fetal gender were investigated.


Amniotic fluid samples were obtained from 192 women, 82 with a mid-trimester amniocentesis (median gestational age 17 weeks) and 110 with a caesarean section not in labor (median gestational age 39 weeks). Amniotic fluid was screened by commercial ELISAs for the TH1/TH2/TH17 cytokines and immune mediators IL-1 beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, IL-15, IL-17, TNF alpha, GRO-alpha, MIP1alpha, MIP1beta, Histone, and IP10. Analysis was by Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. None of the 15 examined cytokines revealed any differences in expression patterns regarding fetal gender. Significant differences were found in IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, TNF- alpha, GRO-alpha and MIP1-beta with respect to gestational age and in GRO-alpha regarding maternal age.


Cytokines utilized as biomarkers in the diagnosis of intrauterine infections are not influenced in their expression pattern by fetal gender but may vary with respect to maternal age and gestational age.

Amniotic fluid; Gestational age; Fetal gender; Cytokines; Immune mediators