MIC-1- possible new hope for miscarriage sufferers?

There has been recently some media attention regarding a new discovery in the field of miscarriages. MIC-1 link with miscarriages and preterm labour has been known since the year 2000. Here is some information which you may find helpful.

Definition of MIC-1

MIC-1: Macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1. A divergent member of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily. MIC-1 is produced in the placenta. There are detectable levels of MIC-1 in the blood of the mother during pregnancy. Low levels of MIC-1 in maternal serum are predictive for an elevated risk of early pregnancy loss. Also known as placental bone morphogenetic protein and placental BMP.

A recent study by an Austaralian group (Tong S, Marjono B, Brown DA, Mulvey S, Breit SN, Manuelpillai U, Wallace EM.) in the Lancet 2004 Jan 10;363(9403):129-30, title (Serum concentrations of macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC-1) as a predictor of miscarriage.) showed MIC 1 to have immunomodulatory actions favouring fetal viability. They measured serum concentrations of MIC-1 in asymptomatic women at 6-13 weeks’ gestation who subsequently miscarried or who had already miscarried. MIC-1 concentrations in the miscarriage cohort (n=100), were a third of those who had ongoing pregnancies (n=197). Multiples of the median for miscarriage was 0.32 (95% CI 0.23-0.32) versus 1.00 (0.93-1.06) for ongoing pregnancies; p<0.0001. Concentrations were just as low 3 weeks before diagnosis as on the day of diagnosis. That MIC 1 serum concentrations seem to be low weeks before miscarriage suggests possible predictive and causative roles, as well as therapeutic potential.

Its our opinion that MIC-1 is a good predictive marker for miscarriage but does not, at least at this stage, tell us much about how to prevent or treat a miscarriage.