Adapting an organ-on-chip device to study the effect of fetal sex and maternal race/ethnicity on preterm birth related intraamniotic inflammation leading to fetal neuroinflammation. Academic Article uri icon


  • PROBLEM: Fetal neuroinflammation has been linked to preterm birth-related intraamniotic infection and inflammation; However, the contribution of fetal sex and maternal race/ethnicity is unknown. To determine if fetal sex and maternal race/ethnicity influence neuroinflammation, an organ-on-chip (OOC) model were established under normal or pathologic conditions utilizing amniotic fluid. METHOD OF STUDY: OOC is composed of two-cell culture chambers connected by Type IV collagen-coated microchannels. Human fetal astroglia (SVGp12) and microglia (HMC3) were co-cultured at an 80:20 ratio in the inner chamber. The outer chamber contained amniotic fluid (AF) from male and female fetuses of White Hispanic (WH) and African-American (AA) pregnant women with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS-100ng/ml) and incubated for 48h. Glial migration (brightfield microscopy), activation (Immunocytochemistry), and cytokine production (Luminex assays) were quantified and compared (N=4 for each category of sex and race/ethnicity). RESULTS: In a pooled analysis, AF+LPS did not induce glial activation or inflammatory changes compared to AF alone. When stratified by sex, male AF+LPS promoted significant glial activation (high CD11b:p<0.05; low Iba1:p<0.01) compared to male AF without LPS; however, this was not associated with changes in pro-inflammatory cytokines. When stratified by race/ethnicity, AF+LPS induced glial activation in both groups, but a differential increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines was seen between WH and AA AF (WH-interleukin-1: p<0.05; AA-interleukin-8: p<0.01). CONCLUSION: This OOC model of fetal neuroinflammation has determined that race/ethnicity differences do exist for perinatal brain injury. The fetal sex of neonates was not a determining factor of susceptibility to intraamniotic inflammation leading to neuroinflammation.

published proceedings

  • Am J Reprod Immunol

author list (cited authors)

  • Richardson, L. S., Emezienna, N., Burd, I., Taylor, B. D., Peltier, M. R., Han, A., & Menon, R.

complete list of authors

  • Richardson, Lauren S||Emezienna, Nkechinyere||Burd, Irina||Taylor, Brandie D||Peltier, Morgan R||Han, Arum||Menon, Ramkumar

publication date

  • December 2022