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DOI: 10.1186/s12944-023-01800-8; PMCID: PMC10007829


BACKGROUND: Previous animal model studies have highlighted a role for cholesterol and its oxidized derivatives (oxysterols) in uterine contractile activity, however, a lipotoxic state associated with hypercholesterolemia may contribute to labor dystocia. Therefore, we investigated if maternal mid-pregnancy cholesterol and oxysterol concentrations were associated with labor duration in a human pregnancy cohort.

METHODS: We conducted a secondary analysis of serum samples and birth outcome data from healthy pregnant women (N = 25) with mid-pregnancy fasting serum samples collected at 22-28 weeks of gestation. Serum was analyzed for total-C, HDL-C, and LDL-C by direct automated enzymatic assay and oxysterol profile including 7α-hydroxycholesterol (7αOHC), 7β-hydroxycholesterol (7βOHC), 24-hydroxycholesterol (24OHC), 25-hydroxycholesterol (25OHC), 27-hydroxycholesterol (27OHC), and 7-ketocholesterol (7KC) by liquid chromatography-selected ion monitoring-stable isotope dilution-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-mass spectroscopy. Associations between maternal second trimester lipids and labor duration (minutes) were assessed using multivariable linear regression adjusting for maternal nulliparity and age.

RESULTS: An increase in labor duration was observed for every 1-unit increment in serum 24OHC (0.96 min [0.36,1.56], p < 0.01), 25OHC (7.02 min [1.92,12.24], p = 0.01), 27OHC (0.54 min [0.06, 1.08], p < 0.05), 7KC (8.04 min [2.7,13.5], p < 0.01), and total oxysterols (0.42 min [0.18,0.06], p < 0.01]. No significant associations between labor duration and serum total-C, LDL-C, or HDL-C were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort, mid-pregnancy concentrations of maternal oxysterols (24OHC, 25OHC, 27OHC, and 7KC) were positively associated with labor duration. Given the small population and use of self-reported labor duration, subsequent studies are required for confirmation.

Journal Title

Lipids in health and disease [electronic resource]





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MeSH Keywords

Animals; Humans; Female; Pregnancy; Oxysterols; Pilot Projects; Cholesterol, LDL; Hydroxycholesterols; Family; Hypercholesterolemia


Cholesterol; Labor duration; Labor dystocia; Oxysterols; Pregnancy


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