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1.
Microorganisms ; 11(1):223, 2023.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-2200534

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is characterized by the immune system's overreaction resulting in a 'cytokine storm', consisting in a massive release of cytokine into the bloodstream, leading to local and systemic inflammatory response. This clinical picture is further complicated in case of infection of patients with a peculiar immunological status, such as pregnancy. In this paper, we focused on Interferon-gamma, which plays a pivotal immunomodulatory role in normal pregnancy and fetal development, as well as in defense against pathogens. In this study, we compared the levels of Interferon-gamma and the Interferon autoantibodies of the peripheral and cord blood of pregnant women with confirmed mild COVID-19 and healthy pregnant women. The Interferon-gamma was significantly lower both in the peripheral and cord blood of SARS-CoV-2-positive mothers, suggesting that infection can affect the fetal microenvironment even without severe maternal symptoms. In conclusion, further studies are needed to clarify whether lower levels of Interferon-gamma due to SARS-CoV-2 infection affect the development or infection susceptibility of infants born to SARS-CoV-2-infected mothers.

2.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ; 20(1):228, 2023.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-2166438

ABSTRACT

Background: Although current guidelines recommend that mothers with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection should be encouraged to initiate and continue breastfeeding, up-to-date literature shows conflicting data regarding breastfeeding experiences in infected women. This survey aimed to report on the psychological impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on breastfeeding practice and medical counselling in a single tertiary center in Southern Italy. Methods: One-hundred breastfeeding women with SARS-CoV-2 infection at delivery were given an anonymous questionnaire regarding breastfeeding and women's perception of the impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding. Results: 75% of women reported they had difficulty breastfeeding;among them, 66 (66%) declared that separation from their babies after delivery affected their ability to breastfeed. Incidence of reported difficulties in breastfeeding was higher in women who underwent caesarean section compared to women with vaginal delivery (56/65, 86.2% vs. 19/35, 54.3%, χ2 = 12.322, p < 0.001) and in women with a hospital stay of more than 5 days (48/57, 84.2% vs. 23/37, 62.2%, χ2 = 5.902, p = 0.015). Furthermore, the incidence of difficulties in breastfeeding was higher in women who subsequently decided to use exclusively infant formula compared to women who mixed maternal milk with infant formula and women who breastfed exclusively with maternal milk (48/49, 98% vs. 20/25, 80% vs. 7/26, 26.9%, χ2 = 46.160, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our survey highlights the importance of healthcare support and information on hygiene practices to decrease the perceived stress related to breastfeeding for infected mothers under restrictions, especially in women undergoing cesarean section and with a long hospital stay.

3.
Biomedicines ; 10(12):3003, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-2123518

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was, firstly, to analyze the histopathological characteristics of placentas in women with uneventful pregnancies and affected by COVID-19 at the time of delivery;and secondly, to correlate histological findings to maternal and neonatal characteristics. In our single-center prospective observational study, 46 placentas from term uncomplicated singleton pregnancies of patients with a documented SARS-CoV-2 infection at the time of delivery underwent histological examination. Despite a normal feto-maternal outcome, most of the placentas (82.6%) presented signs of maternal vascular malperfusion, while features of fetal vascular malperfusion were found in 54% of cases. No correlation was detected between maternal and neonatal characteristics and the severity of blood circulation disease, and abnormal findings were also described in asymptomatic patients. Moreover, we did not find any maternal symptoms or clinical details allowing for the prediction of abnormal placental findings in pregnancy complicated by COVID-19 infection. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy could lead to acute placental dysfunction.

4.
J Clin Med ; 11(21)2022 Nov 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2099599

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since there is no available data on temporal trends of caesarean section (CS) rates in pregnant women with COVID-19 through the pandemic, we aimed to analyze the trends in caesarean section rate in a large cohort of pregnant women with COVID-19, according to the Robson Ten Group Classification System of deliveries. METHODS: We prospectively enrolled pregnant women with a diagnosis of COVID-19 who delivered in our center between March 2020 and November 2021. Deliveries were classified, according to the Robson group classification, and according to three time periods: (1) deliveries from March 2020 to December 2020; (2) deliveries from January 2021 to April 2021; (3) deliveries from May 2021 to November 2021. We compared pregnancy characteristics and incidence of caesarean section, according to the Robson category in the total population, and according to the three time periods. RESULTS: We included 457 patients matching the inclusion criteria in our analysis. We found that overall CS rate significantly decreased over time from period 1 to period 3 (152/222, 68.5% vs. 81/134, 60.4% vs. 58/101, 57.4%, χ2 = 4.261, p = 0.039). CS rate significantly decreased over time in Robson category 1 (48/80, 60% vs. 27/47,57.4% vs. 8/24, 33.3%, χ2 = 4.097, p = 0.043) and Robson category 3 (13/42, 31% vs. 6/33, 18.2% vs. 2/22, 9.1%, χ2 = 4.335, p = 0.037). We also found that the incidence of induction of labor significantly increased over time (8/222, 3.6% vs. 12/134, 9% vs. 11/101, 10.9%, χ2 = 7.245, p = 0.027). CONCLUSION: Our data provide an overview of the temporal changes in the management and obstetric outcome of COVID-19 pregnant women through the pandemic, confirming that standards of obstetrical assistance for pregnancies complicated by SARS-CoV-2 infection improved over time.

5.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences ; 23(7):3450, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1762137

ABSTRACT

Pregnancy is characterized by significant immunological changes and a cytokine profile, as well as vitamin deficiencies that can cause problems for the correct development of a fetus. Defensins are small antimicrobial peptides that are part of the innate immune system and are involved in several biological activities. Following that, this study aims to compare the levels of various cytokines and to investigate the role of defensins between pregnant women with confirmed COVID-19 infection and pregnant women without any defined risk factor. TNF-α, TGF-β, IL-2 and IL-10, β-defensins, have been evaluated by gene expression in our population. At the same time, by ELISA assay IL-6, IL-8, defensin alpha 1, defensin beta 1 and defensin beta 4 have been measured. The data obtained show that mothers affected by COVID-19 have an increase in pro-inflammatory factors (TNF-α, TGF-β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8) compared to controls;this increase could generate a sort of 'protection of the fetus';from virus attacks. Contemporarily, we have an increase in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and an increase in AMPs, which highlights how the mother's body is responding to the viral attack. These results allow us to hypothesize a mechanism of 'trafficking';of antimicrobial peptides from the mother to the fetus that would help the fetus to protect itself from the infection in progress.

7.
Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol ; 268: 144-164, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561999

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has been recommended to pregnant women, but survey studies showed contrasting findings worldwide in relation to the willingness to accept vaccination during pregnancy. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the evidence from the literature regarding the acceptance rate of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in pregnant and breastfeeding women. STUDY DESIGN: We performed a systematic review on the main databases (MEDLINE (PubMed), Scopus, ISI Web of Science) searching for all the peer-reviewed survey studies analyzing the eventual acceptance rate of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine among pregnant and breastfeeding women. To combine data meta-analyses of proportions and pooled proportions with their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. RESULTS: 15 studies including 25,839 women were included in the analysis. The proportion of women actually willing to be vaccinated during pregnancy is 49.1% (95% CI, 42.3-56.0), and the proportion of breastfeeding women is 61.6% (95% CI, 50.0-75.0). CONCLUSION: The cumulative SARS-CoV-2 vaccine acceptance rate among pregnant women appears still low. Vaccinal campaign are urgently needed to drive more confidence into the vaccine to help reducing the spread of the infection and the possible consequences during pregnancy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , COVID-19 Vaccines , Female , Humans , Pregnancy , Pregnant Women , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Arch Gynecol Obstet ; 305(4): 859-867, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1375635

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread in Italy since February 2020, inducing the government to call for lockdown of any activity, apart primary needs, during the months March-May 2020. During the lockdown, a reduction of admissions and hospitalizations for ischemic diseases was noticed. Purpose of this study was to observe if there has been the same reduction trend in Accident & Emergency (A&E) unit admissions also for obstetric-gynecological conditions. METHODS: Medical records and electronic clinical databases were searched for all patients who were admitted to the obstetric A&E department or hospitalized at the Gynecology and Obstetrics Unit of University hospital of Naples Federico II, during the quarter March-May in the years 2019 and 2020. The mean ± standard deviation (SD) of monthly admission to the obstetric A&E department and hospitalization of the year 2020 was compared with that of the year 2019, using the unpaired T test with α error set to 0.05 and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). RESULTS: Admissions were 1483 in the year 2020 and 1786 in 2019. Of total, 1225 (37.5%) women were hospitalized: 583 in the year 2020, 642 in 2019. Mean ± SD of patients monthly admitted to our obstetric A&E department was 494 ± 33.7 in the year 2020, and 595.3 ± 30.9 in 2019, with a mean difference of - 101.3 (95% CI - 103.5 to - 99.1; p < 0.0001). Mean ± SD of patients monthly hospitalized to our department was 194 ± 19.1 in the year 2020, 213.7 ± 4.7 in 2019, with a mean difference of - 19.7 (95% CI - 23.8 to - 15.6; p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: A significant decrease in the mean of monthly admissions and hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the previous year was found also for obstetric-gynecological conditions. Further studies are necessary to assess COVID-19 impact and to take the most appropriate countermeasures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Obstetrics , Accidents , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pregnancy , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(7)2021 Jul 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1314782

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to demonstrate the release of SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) antibodies in human milk samples obtained by patients who have been vaccinated with mRNABNT162b2 vaccine. METHODS: Milk and serum samples were collected in 10 volunteers 20 days after the first dose and 7 seven days after the second dose of the mRNABNT162b2 vaccine. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibodies were measured by the Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S ECLIA assay (Roche Diagnostics AG, Rotkreuz, Switzerland), a quantitative electrochemiluminescence immunometric method. RESULTS: At first sample, anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibodies were detected in all serum samples (103.9 ± 54.9 U/mL) and only in two (40%) milk samples with a low concentration (1.2 ± 0.3 U/mL). At the second sample, collected 7 days after the second dose, anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibodies were detected in all serum samples (3875.7 ± 3504.6 UI/mL) and in all milk samples (41.5 ± 47.5 UI/mL). No correlation was found between the level of serum and milk antibodies; the milk antibodies/serum antibodies ratio was on average 2% (range: 0.2-8.4%). CONCLUSION: We demonstrated a release of anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibodies in the breast milk of women vaccinated with mRNABNT162b2. Vaccinating breastfeeding women could be a strategy to protect their infants from COVID-19 infection.

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