Albumin Decrease Is Associated with Spontaneous Preterm Delivery within 48 h in Women with Threatened Preterm Labor

Threatened preterm labor (TPTL) accounts for ∼30% of pregnancy-related hospital admissions. Maternal peripheral leukocytes can be used to monitor a variety of physiological processes occurring in the body. Two high-throughput mass spectrometry methodologies, SWATH and iTRAQ, were used to study differentially expressed peripheral blood leukocyte lysate proteins in symptomatic women admitted for TPTL who had a preterm birth within 48 h (n = 16) and those who did not (n = 24). The SWATH spectral library consisted of 783 proteins. SWATH methodology quantified 258 proteins (using ≥2 peptides) and 5 proteins (ALBU, ANXA6, HNRPK, HSP90A, and PDIA1) were differentially expressed (p < 0.05, Mann–Whitney U). iTRAQ workflow identified 765 proteins; 354 proteins were quantified and 14 proteins (MIF, UBIQ, HXK3, ALBU, HNRPD, ST1A2, RS15A, RAP1B, CAN1, IQGA2, ST1A1, COX5A, ADDA, and UBQL1) were significantly different between the two groups of women (p < 0.05, Mann–Whitney U). Albumin was the only common differentially expressed protein in both SWATH (28% decrease) and iTRAQ studies (45% decrease). This decrease in albumin was validated using ELISA (11% decrease, p < 0.05, Mann–Whitney U) in another 23 TPTL women. This work suggests that albumin is a broad indicator of leukocyte activation with impending preterm birth and provides new future work directions to understand the pathophysiology of TPTL.