Trefoil factor peptide 3 is positively correlated with the viscoelastic properties of the cervical mucus plug

Sara Kjær Bastholm, Mie Hesselund Samson, Naja Becher, Lea Kirstine Hansen, Peter Reimer Stubbe, Ioannis S. Chronakis, Ebba Nexo, Niels Uldbjerg

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The viscoelastic properties of the cervical mucus plug are considered essential for the occlusion of the cervical canal and thereby for protection against ascending infections during pregnancy. Factors controlling this property are virtually unknown. This study explores a possible role of trefoil factor peptides 1, 2 and 3 (TFF1-3); peptides believed to influence mucus viscosity.MATERIALS AND METHODS:The study is based on spontaneously shed cervical mucus plugs from 14 women in active labor. The viscoelastic properties; the elastic modulus (G') and the viscous modulus (G'') were determined by an oscillatory rheometer. The concentrations of TFF1-3 were measured by an in-house ELISA. Associations were analyzed by random-effects generalized least squares regression analyses.RESULTS:Median (range) concentrations of TFF1, (TFF2) and [TFF3] were 3.1 (1.2-8.6), (1.1 (<0.006-3.7)) and [1000 (170-5300)] nmol/g cervical mucus plug. The TFF3 concentration was associated with G' (regression coefficient 11.7 Pa/ Log nM (95% CI; 3.0 - 20.4, p = 0.009) and G'' (regression coefficient 3.2 Pa / Log nM (95% CI; 1.5 - 5.0, p < 0.001). Conclusion We suggest that TFF3 plays a role in the viscoelastic properties of the cervical mucus plug.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)47-52
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • cervical mucus plug
  • pregnancy
  • rheology
  • trefoil factor peptides1-3
  • viscoelasticity

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