REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0426.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: microRNA; diabetes; pregnancy; prenatal testing
Online: 27 December 2021 (11:37:18 CET)
Background/Aims: Screening for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are currently done at 24 - 28 weeks of conception, missing out on the most vulnerable period of organogenesis and thus preventing clinicians from starting treatments until the late second or third trimester. MicroRNAs (miR) are small non-coding RNA molecules that could aid in detecting or predicting GDM through establishing a novel non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) tool. The objective of this study was to summarize the most recent updates on plasma microRNAs as GDM diagnostic biomarkers. Methods: Between April and June 2021, a PubMed literature search was undertaken to review recent articles on human plasma miR associated with GDM. Animal studies and papers that are written in languages other than English were excluded. Only plasma miRNAs were used to avoid coagulation biases. Results: A total of 31 miRNAs were found significantly upregulated in the plasma samples of patients with GDM. It was found mainly during the 2nd or 3rd trimester except for miR-223 and miR-23a that were upregulated at 9 – 11 weeks of gestation. Conclusion: Though extensive prospective cohort studies are required, miR-223 and miR-23a should be considered the most promising to develop a successful NIPT tool because they were found to be upregulated earliest, during the first trimester.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0284.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology Keywords: cell-free DNA analysis; genetic counseling; noninvasive prenatal screening; prenatal screening; results delivery; telehealth
Online: 19 June 2018 (03:45:49 CEST)
Background: As noninvasive prenatal screening usage grows in the general obstetrics setting, proper patient education on the screen’s benefits and limitations is needed. Objective: Describe the use of a technology platform designed for large-scale dissemination of noninvasive prenatal screening information and results. Study Design: The technology platform functioned as follows: Patients were emailed a link to an noninvasive prenatal screening general-education video upon laboratory receipt of a test requisition. Providers were then notified upon availability of patients’ results. If noninvasive prenatal screening results were negative, the patient was sent an automated email with instructions to access results through a secure portal where she could watch tailored informational videos, request “on-demand” or scheduled genetic counseling, or decline any further services. If genetic counseling was elected, a summary of the session was sent to the ordering provider and patient upon completion. If noninvasive prenatal screening results were positive, either the ordering provider or a board-certified genetic counselor contacted the patient directly to communicate test results and provide counseling. The number and type of results issued through the platform, the number and type of genetic counseling consultations completed, and factors associated with requesting laboratory-delivered genetic counseling were tracked and analyzed for a 39-month period. Results: Over the study period, 67,122 noninvasive prenatal screening results were issued through the platform, and 4,673 patients elected genetic counseling consultations; 95.2% (n=4,450) of consultations were for patients receiving negative results. Over 70% (n= 3,370) of consultations were on-demand rather than scheduled. Median consultation time was 14 minutes for positive results and six minutes for negative results. A positive screen, advanced maternal age, family history, previous history of a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality, and other high-risk pregnancy were associated with the greatest odds of electing laboratory-delivered genetic counseling. Conclusions: By combining web education, automated notifications, and genetic counseling, we implemented a service that effectively facilitates results disclosure for ordering providers. These data demonstrate the capability to deliver noninvasive prenatal screening results, education, and counseling—congruent with management guidelines—to a large population, which is imperative to quality care as uptake increases.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0116.v2
Online: 6 April 2021 (14:57:54 CEST)
While sex ratios at birth (SRB) have been shown to vary within and across populations, after over a century of research, explanations have remained elusive. A variety of ecological, demographic, economic, and social variables have been evaluated, yet their association with SRB has been equivocal. Here, in an attempt to shed light on this unresolved topic within the literature, we approach the question of what drives variation in SRB using detailed longitudinal data spanning the frontier-era to the early 20th century in a US population. Using several measures of environmental harshness, we find that fewer boys are born during challenging times. However, these results hold only for the frontier-era and not into a period of rapid industrialization. We argue that the mixed state of the literature may result from the impact and frequency of exogenous stressors being dampened in post-industrial societies.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0205.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: prenatal alcohol consumption; gut microbiome; neurodevelopment; FASD; mice
Online: 12 December 2022 (13:50:01 CET)
Disorders associated with substance abuse are a major public health crisis with few treatment options. According to World Health Organization (WHO) ethanol is the most widely used drug in the world, and it represents a risk factor for the advent of disease, disability, and eventually death. Foetal Alcoholic Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a diagnostic term to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects encompass both physical, mental, behavioural and further lifelong disabilities. Besides, ethanol can harm the gut microbiota. Gut microbiome is firstly acquired from the mother and it is crucial for intestinal homeostasis during hosts’ lifetime. It is responsible for producing metabolites that benefits and protects the host from harm microbial colonization. Knowledge about the interactions between human gut microbes and the developing nervous system is still scarce. Nevertheless, animal models have shown that gut bacteria and microbial metabolites are strongly associated with Central Nervous System (CNS) homeostasis. Endotoxins such as Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are hypothesized to have a major role in neurodegeneration, however, conclusions must be taken with care due to differences in sensitivity between humans and mice. In this review we focus on the role of gut microbiota on the neurodevelopment of mice when ethanol consumption is one of the major stressors during prenatal period. We detail the range of the endotoxin hypothesis in describing endotoxins’ contribution to neurodegeneration and the influence that kynurenine pathway has on the process.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0443.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: opiate; mu; kappa; delta; nociceptin; addiction; overdose; prenatal; postnatal
Online: 17 November 2020 (09:53:19 CET)
Buprenorphine, an analogue of thebaine, is a Schedule III opioid in the United States used for opioid-use disorder and as an analgesic. Research has shown drugs like buprenorphine have a complicated pharmacology with characteristics that challenge traditional definitions of terms like agonist, antagonist, and efficacy. Buprenorphine has a high affinity for the mu (MOR), delta (DOR), kappa (KOR), and intermediate for the nociceptin opioid receptors (NOR). Buprenorphine is generally described as a partial MOR agonist with limited activity and decreased response at the mu-receptor relative to full agonists. In opioid naïve patients, the drug’s analgesic efficacy is equivalent to a full MOR agonist, despite decreased receptor occupancy and the “ceiling effect” produced from larger doses. Some argue buprenorphine’s effects depend on the endpoint measured, as it functions as a partial agonist for respiratory depression, but a full-agonist for pain. Buprenorphine’s active metabolite, norbuprenorphine, attenuates buprenorphine's analgesic effects due to NOR binding and respiratory depressant effects. The method of administration impacts efficacy and tolerance when administered for analgesia. There have been eleven-thousand reports involving buprenorphine and minors (age < 19) to US poison control centers, the preponderance (89.2%) with children. The consequences of prenatal buprenorphine exposure in experimental animals and humans should continue to be carefully evaluated. In conclusion, buprenorphine’s characterization as only a partial mu-agonist is an oversimplification. Contemporary research shows the traditional explanation of the pharmacology of buprenorphine does not take into account changes to receptor theory, pharmacological terminology, route of administration, and biologically active major metabolites.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0081.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Keywords: mercury; prenatal exposure; postnatal outcome; environmental health; epidemiological monitoring
Online: 7 September 2019 (01:06:51 CEST)
Background: It is well known the adverse effect of mercury exposure on pregnant women and newborns. Interactions between environmental factors and individual genetic susceptibility have been identified, particularly polymorphisms of codifying genes for the Glutathione S-transferase family (GSTs). Herein, we report a case series of patients with high Hg levels in biosamples. Case Series: Fourteen cases with high Hg levels were identified. Non-occupational or home exposure risk factors were identified. All mothers reported fish consumption during pregnancy. Almost 60% of the individuals were null for either one GSTs gene. To date, in the subsequent mother-child pairs toxicology controls no signs or symptoms of poisoning were identified and most of the mercury levels decreased and are below the accepted limit. Discussion: In this case series we found some similarities with the literature; among them, the relation of Hg ratio in maternal blood and umbilical cord, a possible exposure factor is the consumption of fish during pregnancy and, the high levels of Hg may be related with susceptibility biomarkers such as GSTs gene polymorphisms. This case series highlights the need to develop studies that evaluate the interactions between environmental factors and individual genetic susceptibility. Additionally, the importance of evaluating which Colombian fish species present the highest levels of Hg.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0030.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pediatrics Keywords: autism; autistic spectrum disorder; children; behavior; ultrasonography; prenatal; pregnancy
Online: 4 June 2019 (12:56:37 CEST)
For the past several decades, abdominal prenatal ultrasonography has been the most significant technology in obstetrics with a long-established application. However, the frequency, exposure time, thermal and cavitation exposure indices, and increased acoustic output of the ultrasonic waves may be harmful to the embryo/fetus and might increase susceptibility to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The increase in the prevalence of ASD is associated with an affluent ethnicity, high socioeconomic status, and high parental education where prenatal ultrasonography is readily available and affordable. Enhanced biophysical adverse effects may link the analogous increase in prenatal ultrasonography and autism, and prenatal ultrasonography may emerge as a risk factor for autism. Radiography usage provides historical evidence for this fact: the predominant past opinion was that exposure to X-rays during pregnancy caused no significant risk to a fetus. However, the association between X-ray exposure and childhood leukemia was only established 40 years after X-ray use began. This review focuses on excessive PUS usage and ASD development. Public Abstract Advancements in medical technology over the past several decades have made prenatal ultrasound more frequently accessible to expecting mothers during their pregnancy, especially for the affluent. A parallel development in health care is the increase in autism diagnoses (Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD) in children of affluent families. There is a general lack of studies of the impact of prenatal ultrasound on fetuses, especially around varying attributes such as frequency, duration of exposure, and thermal and cavitation indices. There is also a historical precedent set, where exposing fetuses to X-rays was not found to be harmful until it was linked to the development of childhood leukemia decades later. This paper seeks to establish a need to further study these attributes of prenatal ultrasound overuse and their possible impact on a developing fetus, with a special focus on the occurrence of Autism.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0285.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: QF-PCR; cytogenetics; prenatal diagnosis; aneuploidy; chromosome abnormalities; screening test
Online: 10 June 2021 (09:17:57 CEST)
Early identification of fetal abnormalities is a huge challenge for modern obstetrics. Quantitative fluorescent polymerase chain reaction (QF-PCR) has quickly become an effective means of chromosome anomaly detection due to its advantages in terms of timing, manpower and accuracy. The QF-PCR results also make a significant change in clinicians’ attitude to some extent, assisting them providing parents with professional and valuable advice on pregnancy management. In this review, the advantages and drawbacks of QF-PCR will be explored. By reviewing studies published in Vietnamese Medical Journals, we conclude QF-PCR can become a potential screening test in the field of prenatal diagnosis.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0355.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: SDQ; bisphenol A; phthalates; prenatal exposure; birth cohort; behavioral problems
Online: 27 April 2018 (08:27:38 CEST)
Studies reported adverse behavioral development including internalizing and externalizing problems in association with prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, however, findings were not sufficient due to using different assessment tools and child ages among studies. This study aimed to examine associations between maternal serum levels of BPA and phthalate metabolites and behavioral problems at preschool age. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used to assess behavioral problems at 5 years of age. BPA and phthalate metabolite levels in the 1st trimester maternal serum was determined by LC-MS/MS for 458 children. Variables used for adjustment were parental ages, maternal cotinine levels, family income during pregnancy, child sex, birth order and age at SDQ completed. The median concentrations of BPA, MnBP, MiBP, MEHP and MECPP were 0.062, 26.0, 7.0, 1.40, and 0.20 ng/ml, respectively. BPA level was associated with increased hyperactivity/inattention risk among girls (OR=1.66, 95% CI: 0.95-2.90) and∑DBPm (MnBP + MiBP) level was associated with decreased total difficulties risk overall and among girls (OR=0.48, 95% CI: 0.20-1.13, OR=0.24, 95% CI: 0.06-1.03, respectively) without significance. MECPP level was associated with increase conduct problems risk (OR=2.78, 95% CI: 1.36-5.68). Our analyses found no significant association between BPA or summation of phthalate metabolite levels and any of the behavioral problems at 5 years of age, however, suggested possible association between MECPP levels and increased risk of conduct problems.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0680.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology Keywords: Air pollution; low birth weight; prenatal exposure; joint effects; cold climate
Online: 28 July 2020 (10:43:42 CEST)
There is accumulating evidence that prenatal exposure to air pollution disturbs fetal growth and development, but little is known about these effects in cold climates or their season-specific or joint effects. Our objective was to assess independent and joint effects of prenatal exposure to specific air pollutants on the risk of low birth weight (LBW). We utilized the 2568 children of the Espoo Cohort Study, born between 1984 and 1990, and living in the City of Espoo. We conducted stratified analyses for births during warm and cold seasons separately. We analyzed the effect estimates using multi-pollutant Poisson regression models with risk ratio (RR) as the measure of effect. The risk of LBW was related to exposure to CO and (adjusted RR 1.44, 95% CI: 1.04-2.00) and exposure to O3 in the spring-summer season (1.82, 1.11-2.96). There was also evidence of synergistic effects between CO and O3 (relative risk due to interaction, RERI, all year 1.08, 95% CI: 0.27-4.94, spring-summer 3.97, 2.17-25.85) and PM2.5 and O3 (all year 0.72, -0.07-3.60, spring-summer 2.80, 1.36-19.88). We present new evidence of both independent and joint effects of prenatal exposure in a cold climate on the risk of LBW at low levels of air pollution.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0292.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: Meier-Gorlin syndrome; Jeune syndrome; ORC6; exon skipping variant; prenatal genetic testing
Online: 23 May 2022 (10:18:24 CEST)
Meier–Gorlin syndrome (MGS) is a rare genetic developmental disorder that causes primordial proportional dwarfism, microtia, absent or hypoplastic patellae and other skeletal anomalies. Overlapping skeletal symptoms make MGS difficult to diagnose clinically. We describe a 3-year-old boy with short stature, recurrent respiratory infections, short-rib dysplasia, tower head and facial dysmorphisms who was admitted to the Tomsk Genetic Clinic to verify a clinical diagnosis of Jeune syndrome. Clinical Exome sequencing revealed two variants (compound heterozygosity) in the ORC6 gene: c.2T>C(p.Met1Thr) and c.449+5G>A. In silico analysis showed the pathogenicity of these two mutations and predicted a decrease in donor splicing site strength for c.449+5G>A. An in vitro minigene assay demonstrated that variant c.449+5G>A causes a complete skipping of exon 4 in ORC6 gene. The parents asked for urgent prenatal testing for MGS for the next pregnancy, but it ended in a miscarriage. Thus, this case report may help to prevent MGS misdiagnosis in the future. We also performed in silico and functional analyses of ORC6 mutations and developed a restriction fragment length polymorphism and haplotype-based short-tandem-repeat assay for prenatal genetic testing for MGS. These findings should elucidate MGS aetiology and improve the quality of genetic counselling for affected families.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0020.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology Keywords: expanded carrier screening; prenatal diagnosis; pregnancy management; clinical utility; at-risk couple
Online: 1 August 2018 (12:07:35 CEST)
Purpose: Expanded carrier screening (ECS) informs couples of their risk of having offspring affected by certain genetic conditions. Limited data exists assessing the actions and reproductive outcomes of at-risk couples (ARCs). We describe the impact of ECS on planned and actual pregnancy management in the largest sample of ARCs studied to date. Methods: Couples who elected ECS and were found to be at high risk of having a pregnancy affected by at least one of 176 genetic conditions were invited to complete a survey about their actions and pregnancy management. Results: Three hundred ninety-one ARCs completed the survey. Among those screened before becoming pregnant, 77% planned or pursued actions to avoid having affected offspring. Among those screened during pregnancy, 37% elected prenatal diagnostic testing (PNDx) for that pregnancy. In subsequent pregnancies that occurred in both the preconception and prenatal screening groups, PNDx was pursued in 29%. The decision to decline PNDx was most frequently based on the fear of procedure-related miscarriage, as well as the belief that termination would not be pursued in the event of a positive diagnosis. Conclusions: ECS results impacted couples’ reproductive decision-making and led to altered pregnancy management that effectively eliminates the risk of having affected offspring.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0030.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Prenatal Care; Standard of Care; Telemedicine; Cross-Sectional Studies; Poland
Online: 5 May 2021 (10:32:26 CEST)
To reduce the risk of infection of SARS-CoV-2 during the commute to the clinic or due to the contact with medical staff, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended ar-ranging part of the appointments in the form of “telehealth”. The aim of the study was to assess the access to medical care in pregnancy during the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic and the role of telehealth in implementation of prenatal care standards. This is a cross-sectional study. The study group in-cluded 618 women that were pregnant and or gave birth during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland. The majority of participants experienced difficulties in access to medical care because of the pandemic. Correlation between this experience and the use of hybrid healthcare model was es-tablished. However, affiliation to public or private healthcare group was irrelevant. There was no relationship between healthcare (private/public or in-person/hybrid) and implementation of the prenatal care standards. To ensure safe access to prenatal care for pregnant women, recommen-dations for a hybrid pregnancy management model should be created with detailed information for which appointments patients must be present and which can be done remotely. To reduce movement risk and interpersonal contact, all visits during which tests and screenings take place should be done in-person. Other appointments can be arranged in the form of telehealth
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0474.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: prenatal infection; virome; viral antibody; VirScan; ViroCap; maternal viral infection; viral protein; GBV-C; placenta; fetal viral infection
Online: 29 August 2022 (08:07:37 CEST)
Human pegivirus (HPgV) is best known for persistent, presumably non-pathogenic, infection and a propensity to co-infect with human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis C virus. However, unique at-tributes, such as the increased risk of malignancy or immune modulation, have been recently recognized for HPgV. We have identified a unique case of a woman with high levels HPgV infection in two preg-nancies, which occurred 4 years apart, without evidence of human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis C virus infection. The second pregnancy was complicated by congenital heart disease. A high level of HPgV infection was detected in maternal blood from different trimesters by RT-PCR and identified as HPgV type 1 genotype 2 in both pregnancies. In the second pregnancy, the decidua and intervillous tissue of the placenta were positive for HPgV by PCR but not the chorion or cord blood (from both pregnancies), suggesting no vertical transmission despite high levels of viremia. The HPgV genome sequence was remarkably conserved over the 4 years. Using VirScan, sera antibodies for HPgV were detected in the first trimester of both pregnancies. We observed the same anti-HPgV antibodies against the non-structural NS5 protein in both pregnancies, suggesting a similar non-E2 protein humoral immune response over time. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of persistent HPgV infection involving placental tissues with no evidence of vertical transmission. Our results reveal a more elaborate viral-host interaction than previously reported, expand our knowledge about tropism, and opens avenues for exploring the replication sites of this virus.