Prenatal Endotoxin Exposure Induces Fetal and Neonatal Renal Inflammation via Innate and Th1 Immune Activation in Preterm Pigs

Tik Muk, Ping-Ping Jiang, Allan Stensballe, Kerstin Skovgaard, Per Torp Sangild, Duc Ninh Nguyen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Chorioamnionitis (CA) predisposes to preterm birth and affects the fetal mucosal surfaces (i.e., gut, lungs, and skin) via intra-amniotic (IA) inflammation, thereby accentuating the proinflammatory status in newborn preterm infants. It is not known if CA may affect more distant organs, such as the kidneys, before and after preterm birth. Using preterm pigs as a model for preterm infants, we investigated the impact of CA on fetal and neonatal renal status and underlying mechanisms. Fetal pigs received an IA dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), were delivered preterm by cesarean section 3 days later (90% gestation), and compared with controls (CON) at birth and at postnatal day 5. Plasma proteome and inflammatory targets in kidney tissues were evaluated. IA LPS-exposed pigs showed inflammation of fetal membranes, higher fetal plasma creatinine, and neonatal urinary microalbumin levels, indicating renal dysfunction. At birth, plasma proteomics revealed LPS effects on proteins associated with renal inflammation (up-regulated LRG1, down-regulated ICA, and ACE). Kidney tissues of LPS pigs at birth also showed increased levels of kidney injury markers (LRG1, KIM1, NGLA, HIF1A, and CASP3), elevated molecular traits related to innate immune activation (infiltrated MPO+ cells, complement molecules, oxidative stress, TLR2, TLR4, S100A9, LTF, and LYZ), and Th1 responses (CD3+ cells, ratios of IFNG/IL4, and TBET/GATA3). Unlike in plasma, innate and adaptive immune responses in kidney tissues of LPS pigs persisted to postnatal day 5. We conclude that prenatal endotoxin exposure induces fetal and postnatal renal inflammation in preterm pigs with both innate and adaptive immune activation, partly explaining the potential increased risks of kidney injury in preterm infants born with CA.
Original languageEnglish
Article number565484
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Intrauterine
  • Bacterial infection
  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Plasma proteomics
  • Renal inflammation
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Immune activation


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