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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 7 (1999), Issue 4, Pages 180-185

Heat Shock Proteins and Heat Shock Protein-Antibody Complexes in Placental Tissues

1Division of Human Reproduction and Endocrinology, , Dept of OB/GYN, University of Leipzig, Philipp-Rosenthal-Str. 55, Leipzig 04103, Germany
2lmmunology and Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY, USA
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Semmelweis University Medical School, Budapest, Hungary
4Institute of Anatomy, University of Leipzig, Germany
5Paul Flechsig Institute for Brain Research, University of Leipzig, Germany

Received 2 November 1998; Accepted 28 January 1999

Copyright © 1999 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.


Objective: The relationship between pregnancy outcome and expression of the heat shock proteins (hsps) or hsp-antibody complexes of 60kD (hsp60), 70kD (hsp70), and 90kD (hsp90) in placental tissue and circulating antibodies to hsps was evaluated.

Method: Expression of hsp60, hsp70, and hsp90 in placentae from 12 women with preterm birth, eight with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and 10 with term birth, as well as the presence of the corresponding antibodies, was investigated by a new carbocyanine double fluorescence technique. Results were compared with microbiological findings and circulating antibodies to hsps in sera.

Results: In each placental specimen examined, hsp60, hsp70, and hsp90 were identified. However, hsp70-antibody complexes were detected in only four of the preterm labor cases. Similarly, hsp60-antibody complexes were detected in only five preterm labor patients and in one patient with IUGR. None of the placentae contained hsp90-antibody complexes. In the preterm birth group, all patients with hsp60-antibody complexes were also positive for circulating antibodies to hsp60. The presence of hsp70-antibody complexes also correlated with hsp70 antibody in sera.

Conclusions: Formation of hsp60- and hsp70-antibody complexes in the placenta may contribute to the induction of preterm birth. Women sensitized to these antibodies may be at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcome. Infect. Dis. Obstet. Gynecol. 7:180–185, 1999.