1. Role of IP-10 in the mechanism of preterm labor after viral infection: IP-10 (also known as Interferon gamma-induced protein of 10kDa) is a chemoattractant for activated T-cells. It is secreted by monocytes, endothelial cells, and fibroblast cells. It is induced by interferon, and is clinically useful as a prognostic indicator for patients with Hepatitis C and HIV. In pregnancy, elevated amniotic fluid levels of IP-10 at midtrimester have been associated with preterm delivery before 32 weeks, while increased expression of IP-10 has been shown in placentas with histological chronic chorioamnionitis. A two-hit model of preterm labor and delivery has previously been developed in the lab, and IP-10 levels are seen to increase in correlation with the model.
2. Interaction between cell types at the maternal-fetal interface: The maternal-fetal interface is comprised of maternal decidua and immune cells interfaced with fetal trophoblast, immune, and endothelial cells. While much research has focused on the behavior of individual cells such as the trophoblast or maternal immune cells, little is known about how these cells interact with each other in order to maintain pregnancy success or during complications of pregnancy.
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