Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register
Sherer 2021

Pregnancy alters IL-1β expression and anti-viral antibody responses during SARS-CoV-2 infection

  1. Study Type
  2. Observational
  1. Study Aim
  2. Transmission
  3. Diagnostic/Prognostic
  1. Study Design
  2. Case series/Case control/Cohort
  1. Intervention Assignment
  2. Not Applicable

Pregnancy alters IL-1β expression and anti-viral antibody responses during SARS-CoV-2 infection

Sherer ML, Lei J, Creisher P, Jang M, Reddy R, Voegtline K, Olson S, Littlefield K, Park HS, Ursin RL, Ganesan A, Boyer T, Elsayed N, Brown DM, Walch SN, Antar AAR, Manabe YC, Jones-Beatty K, Christopher Golden W, Satin AJ, Sheffield JS, Pekosz A, Klein SL, Burd I
Journal article
Report Results
BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the disease-causing pathogen of the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in morbidity and mortality worldwide. Pregnant women are more susceptible to severe COVID-19 disease and are at higher risk for preterm birth compared to uninfected pregnant women. Despite this evidence, the immunological effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy remain understudied. OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy on inflammatory and humoral responses in maternal and fetal samples and compare antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 among pregnant and non-pregnant women. STUDY DESIGN: Immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 were analyzed using samples from pregnant (n=33) and non-pregnant (n=17) women who had either tested positive (pregnant n=22; non-pregnant n=17) or negative for SARS-CoV-2 (pregnant n=11) at Johns Hopkins Hospital. We measured proinflammatory and placental cytokine mRNAs, neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) expression, and tetanus antibody transfer in maternal and cord blood samples. Additionally, we evaluated anti-spike (S) IgG, anti-S-receptor binding domain (RBD) IgG, and neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses to SARS-CoV-2 in serum or plasma collected from non-pregnant women, pregnant women, and cord blood. RESULTS: SARS-COV-2 positive pregnant women expressed more IL1β, but not IL6, in blood samples collected within 14 days versus > 14 days after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 test. Pregnant women with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection also had reduced anti-S-RBD IgG titers and were less likely to have detectable nAb as compared with non-pregnant women. Although SARS-CoV-2 infection did not disrupt FcRn expression in the placenta, maternal transfer of SARS-CoV-2 nAb was inhibited by infection during pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy was characterized by placental inflammation and reduced antiviral antibody responses, which may impact the efficacy of COVID-19 therapeutics in pregnancy. The long-term implications of placental inflammation for neonatal health also requires greater consideration