Journal of Molecular Histology

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 243–257 | Cite as

Expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and vascular endothelial growth factor in different zones of fetal membranes: a possible relation to onset of labor

Original Paper


This study aimed to explore whether the altered expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and apoptotic changes in mid zone (MZ) and rupture zone (RZ) of fetal membranes (FM) are regulatory mechanisms associated with labor at term. Fifteen FM specimens were collected after vaginal deliveries and 13 specimens after elective caesarian section. Histological and immunohistochemical analysis were employed. Area percent of TNF-α and VEGF immunostaining and apoptotic index (AI) were evaluated using image analysis. The statistical data revealed significantly higher area % for TNF-α, VEGF immunoexpression and AI in labor compared to non-labor specimens (p < 0.0001). There was a significantly higher percentage of TNF-α immunoexpressed area in MZ compared with RZ in both groups (p < 0.0001). VEGF expression in RZ of both groups proved nearly double or triple the area % of expression relative to MZ with highly significant difference (p < 0.0001). quantitative analysis revealed near two fold increase in the AI in RZ (13.42 % ± 1.2 in labor; 11.20 % ± 0.96 in non-labor groups) when compared to MZ (7.20 % ± 0.6 in labor; 5.08 % ± 0.76 in non-labor groups) with highly significant zonal difference (p < 0.0001). Correlation analysis revealed significant correlation between apoptotic indices and area % of TNF-α (r = 0.575, p = 0.002 in non-labor; r = 0.652, p < 0.0001 in labor) and VEGF (r = 0.795, p < 0.0001 in non-labor; r = 0.668, p < 0.0001 in labor). In conclusion, Apoptosis may be regulated by TNF-α and VEGF expression in FM at labor. MZ is a step back from RZ and could participate actively in rupture of the FM during labor. TNF-α and VEGF increase with onset of labor and differentially expressed in the RZ and the MZ. These findings call for further study with tissue cultures or animal models.


Fetal membranes TNF-α VEGF Onset of labor 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest and that they did not receive any fund related to this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyTaibah UniversityAlmadinah AlmonawarahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyZagazig UniversityZagazigEgypt
  3. 3.Department of AnatomyTaibah UniversityAlmadinah AlmonawarahSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Anatomy and EmbryologyAlmansoura UniversityAlmansouraEgypt

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