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Disease Markers
Volume 34, Issue 1, Pages 51-56

Common Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms and the Risk for Preterm Birth

Lorenz Kuessel,1 Christoph Grimm,1 Martin Knöfler,1 Peter Haslinger,1 Heinz Leipold,2 Georg Heinze,3 Christian Egarter,1 and Maximilian Schmid1,4

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Landeskrankenhaus Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria
3Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics and Intelligent Systems, Section for Clinical Biometrics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
4Department of Perinatal Medicine, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville, Australia

Received 22 October 2012; Accepted 22 October 2012

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxytocin is crucially involved in the onset and maintenance of labor. We investigated the association between oxytocin receptor gene polymorphisms and preterm birth. The presence of four common oxytocin receptor gene polymorphisms (rs2254298, rs53576, rs2228485 and rs237911) was evaluated in one hundred women with preterm birth and one hundred healthy women using restriction fragment length polymorphism genotyping. No association was found between the presence of any individual oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism and preterm birth. In haplotype analysis, the haplotype combination of rs2254298 A allele, rs2228485 C allele and rs237911 G allele was found to be significantly associated with an increased risk of preterm birth (OR = 3.2 [CI 1.04–9.8], p = 0.043). In conclusion our findings suggest that a combination of three oxytocin receptor gene polymorphisms is associated with an increased risk for preterm birth. We propose further studies investigating the role of oxytocin receptor gene polymorphisms and preterm birth.