Influenza-Induced Interferon Lambda Response Is Associated With Longer Time to Delivery Among Pregnant Kenyan Women

Christof Seiler, Nicholas L Bayless, Rosemary Vergara, Jillian Pintye, John Kinuthia, Lusi Osborn, Daniel Matemo, Barbra A Richardson, Grace John-Stewart, Susan Holmes, Catherine A Blish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Specific causes of preterm birth remain unclear. Several recent studies have suggested that immune changes during pregnancy are associated with the timing of delivery, yet few studies have been performed in low-income country settings where the rates of preterm birth are the highest. We conducted a retrospective nested case-control evaluation within a longitudinal study among HIV-uninfected pregnant Kenyan women. To characterize immune function in these women, we evaluated unstimulated and stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro with the A/California/2009 strain of influenza to understand the influenza-induced immune response. We then evaluated transcript expression profiles using the Affymetrix Human GeneChip Transcriptome Array 2.0. Transcriptional profiles of sufficient quality for analysis were obtained from 54 women; 19 of these women delivered <34 weeks and were defined as preterm cases and 35 controls delivered >37 weeks. The median time to birth from sample collection was 13 weeks. No transcripts were significantly associated with preterm birth in a case-control study of matched term and preterm birth (n = 42 women). In the influenza-stimulated samples, expression of IFNL1 was associated with longer time to delivery-the amount of time between sample collection and delivery (n = 54 women). A qPCR analysis confirmed that influenza-induced IFNL expression was associated with longer time to delivery. These data indicate that during pregnancy, ex vivo influenza stimulation results in altered transcriptional response and is associated with time to delivery in cohort of women residing in an area with high preterm birth prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number452
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2020


  • CELL
  • TERM
  • immune
  • influenza virus
  • interferon
  • pregnancy
  • preterm
  • time to delivery

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