This research investigated the immune environment within placental tissue from stillborn babies infected with the Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) virus and then used a novel in vitro model of placental infection to confirm these findings.
Human cytomegalovirus(CMV) can cause a number of serious birth defects to the developing baby including mental disability, hearing and vision loss and in the most severe cases result in fetal death.
The research found the placenta from stillborn babies naturally infected with CMV had a shift from a balanced immune environment towards a more pro-inflammatory state. Furthermore, infection of cell cultures in vitro showed this pro-inflammatory shift was most likely a direct cellular response to CMV replication within infected cells of the placenta.
Research Institution: Virology Division, SEALS Microbiology, Prince of Wales Hospital and the University of New South Wales
Chief Investigator: Professor William Rawlinson
Other Investigators: Stuart Hamilton, Dr Gillian Scott
Read the full report here.