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Collection and characterization of amniotic fluid from scheduled C-section deliveries


Amniotic fluid (AF) possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and regenerative properties that make it attractive for use in clinical applications. The goals of this study were to assess the feasibility of collecting AF from full-term pregnancies and to evaluate non-cellular and cellular properties of AF for clinical applications. Donor informed consent and medical histories were obtained from pregnant women scheduled for C-sections and infectious disease testing was performed the day of collection. AFs were evaluated for total volume, fluid chemistries, total protein, and hyaluronic acid (HA) levels. AF was also assessed with quantitative antibody arrays, cellular content and for an ability to support angiogenesis. Thirty-six pregnant women consented and passed donor screening to give birth tissue. AF was successfully collected from 17 individuals. Median AF volumes were 70 mL (range 10–815 mL; n = 17). Fluid chemistries were similar, but some differences were noted in HA levels and cytokine profiles. Cytokine arrays revealed that an average of 304 ± 20 of 400 proteins tested were present in AF with a majority of cytokines associated with host defense. AF supported angiogenesis. Epithelioid cells were the major cell type in AF with only a minor population of lymphoid cells. Cultures revealed a highly proliferative population of adherent cells capable of producing therapeutic doses of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). These findings showed that significant volumes of AF were routinely collected from full-term births. AF contained a number of bioactive proteins and only a rare population of MSCs. Variations noted in components present in different AFs, warrant further investigations to determine their relevance for specific clinical applications.

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We are especially grateful to the Obstetrical and Gynecological staff at the University of Utah hospital for supporting this endeavor. We thank the staff of the University of Utah Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Facility for their assistance and encouragement. We would also like to thank Brett Milash for analysis of the protein arrays.


This work was supported in part by the University of Utah.

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Correspondence to Jo-Anna Reems.

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JP, PJ and JAR have no conflicts of interest.

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Pierce, J., Jacobson, P., Benedetti, E. et al. Collection and characterization of amniotic fluid from scheduled C-section deliveries. Cell Tissue Bank 17, 413–425 (2016).

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  • Amniotic fluid
  • C-section
  • Cytokines
  • Growth factors