Vaginal metabolome: towards a minimally invasive diagnosis of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity in women with preterm labor
Sara Vicente-Muñoz, Teresa Cobo, Leonor Puchades-Carrasco, Ana B Sánchez-García, Núria Agustí, Montse Palacio, Antonio Pineda-Lucena, Eduard Gratacós
Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) is only identified by amniocentesis, an invasive procedure that limits its clinical translation. Here, we aimed to evaluate whether the vaginal metabolome discriminates the presence/absence of MIAC in women with preterm labor (PTL) and intact membranes. We conducted a case-control study in women with symptoms of PTL below 34 weeks who underwent amniocentesis to discard MIAC. MIAC was defined as amniotic fluid positive for microorganisms identified by specific culture media. The cohort included 16 women with MIAC and 16 control (no MIAC).
Both groups were matched for age and gestational age at admission. Vaginal fluid samples were collected shortly after amniocentesis. Metabolic profiles were analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and compared using multivariate and univariate statistical analyses to identify significant differences between the two groups. The vaginal metabolomics profile of MIAC showed higher concentrations of hypoxanthine, proline, choline and acetylcholine and decreased concentrations of phenylalanine, glutamine, isoleucine, leucine and glycerophosphocholine.
In conclusion, metabolic changes in the NMR-based vaginal metabolic profile are able to discriminate the presence/absence of MIAC in women with PTL and intact membranes. These metabolic changes might be indicative of enhanced glycolysis triggered by hypoxia conditions as a consequence of bacterial infection, thus explaining the utilization of alternative energy sources in an attempt to replenish glucose.
CITATION Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 25;10(1):5465. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62542-6.