Investigating viral causes of stillbirth.

  • Brief

    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.

  • Background

    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.

  • Key takeaways

    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.

  • Key contributors

    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

  • Full report

    Read the full report here.

  • Funding amount