Perinatal Immunobiology

About the Program

  • Conduct basic research on the immunological pathways that lead to obstetrical disorders, with the goals of improving the understanding of the mechanisms of disease and of developing methods for the early diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, and prevention of pregnancy complications, with an emphasis on preterm birth.
  • Train post-graduate and graduate-level professionals in perinatal immunology.


  • To study the mechanisms whereby damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) induce sterile intra-amniotic inflammation and spontaneous preterm labor and birth.
  • To investigate the function of leukocytes in the amniotic cavity of women with intra-amniotic infection/inflammation.
  • To mechanistically elucidate the homeostatic role of innate immune cells in late gestation in order to develop strategies to prevent inflammation-induced preterm labor.
  • To mechanistically elucidate the roles of effector and regulatory T cells in spontaneous preterm labor.

Selected Publications

  • Effector T cells in Preterm Labor: Effector and Activated T Cells Induce Preterm Labor and Birth That Is Prevented by Treatment with Progesterone. Arenas-Hernandez M, Romero R, Xu Y, Panaitescu B, Garcia-Flores V, Miller D, Ahn H, Done B, Hassan SS, Hsu CD, Tarca AL, Sanchez-Torres C, Gomez-Lopez N. J Immunol. 2019 May 1;202(9):2585-2608. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1801350. Epub 2019 Mar 27.  
  • Fetal T cells AF: Fetal T Cell Activation in the Amniotic Cavity during Preterm Labor: A Potential Mechanism for a Subset of Idiopathic Preterm Birth. Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Xu Y, Miller D, Arenas-Hernandez M, Garcia-Flores V, Panaitescu B, Galaz J, Hsu CD, Para R, Berry SM. J Immunol. 2019 Oct 1;203(7):1793-1807. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1900621. Epub 2019 Sep 6. 
  • Garcia-Flores V, Romero R, Miller D, Xu Y, Done B, Veerapaneni C, Leng Y, Arenas-Hernandez M, Khan N, Panaitescu B, Hassan SS, Alvarez-Salas LM, Gomez-Lopez N. Inflammation-Induced Adverse Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes Can Be Improved by the Immunomodulatory Peptide Exendin-4. Front Immunol. 2018 Jun 18;9:1291. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01291. eCollection 2018. PMID: 29967606.
  • Frascoli M, Coniglio L, Witt R, Jeanty C, Fleck-Derderian S, Myers DE, Lee TH, Keating S, Busch MP, Norris PJ, Tang Q, Cruz G, Barcellos LF, Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, MacKenzie TC. Alloreactive fetal T cells promote uterine contractility in preterm labor via IFN-γ and TNF-α. Sci Transl Med. 2018 Apr 25;10(438). pii: eaan2263. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan2263. PMID: 29695455.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Xu Y, Miller D, Leng Y, Panaitescu B, Silva P, Faro J, Alhousseini A, Gill N, Hassan SS, Hsu CD. The immunophenotype of amniotic fluid leukocytes in normal and complicated pregnancies. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2018 Apr;79(4):e12827. doi: 10.1111/aji.12827. Epub 2018 Mar 3. PMID: 29500850.
  • Miller D, Romero R, Unkel R, Xu Y, Vadillo-Ortega F, Hassan SS, Gomez-Lopez N. CD71+ erythroid cells from neonates born to women with preterm labor regulate cytokine and cellular responses. J Leukoc Biol. 2018 Apr;103(4):761-775. doi: 10.1002/JLB.5A0717-291RRR. Epub 2018 Feb 1. PMID: 29389020.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Xu Y, Leng Y, Garcia-Flores V, Miller D, Jacques SM, Hassan SS, Faro J, Alsamsam A, Alhousseini A, Gomez-Roberts H, Panaitescu B, Yeo L, Maymon E. Are amniotic fluid neutrophils in women with intraamniotic infection and/or inflammation of fetal or maternal origin? Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Sep 28. pii: S0002-9378(17)31128-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.09.013. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28964823.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Plazyo O, Schwenkel G, Garcia-Flores V, Unkel R, Xu Y, Leng Y, Hassan SS, Panaitescu B, Cha J, Dey SK. Preterm labor in the absence of acute histologic chorioamnionitis is characterized by cellular senescence of the chorioamniotic membranes. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Nov;217(5):592.e1-592.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.08.008. Epub 2017 Aug 25. PubMed PMID: 28847437.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Garcia-Flores V, Xu Y, Leng Y, Alhousseini A, Hassan SS, Panaitescu B. Amniotic fluid neutrophils can phagocytize bacteria: A mechanism for microbial killing in the amniotic cavity. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2017 Oct;78(4). doi: 10.1111/aji.12723. Epub 2017 Jul 13. PubMed PMID: 28703488; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5623137.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Arenas-Hernandez M, Schwenkel G, St Louis D, Hassan SS, Mial TN. In vivo activation of invariant natural killer T cells induces systemic and local alterations in T-cell subsets prior to preterm birth. Clin Exp Immunol. 2017 Aug;189(2):211-225. doi: 10.1111/cei.12968. Epub 2017 May 10. PubMed PMID: 28369855; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5508324.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Xu Y, Garcia-Flores V, Leng Y, Panaitescu B, Miller D, Abrahams VM, Hassan SS. Inflammasome assembly in the chorioamniotic membranes during spontaneous labor at term. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2017 May;77(5). doi: 10.1111/aji.12648. Epub 2017 Feb 24. PubMed PMID: 28233423; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5429868.
  • Plazyo O, Romero R, Unkel R, Balancio A, Mial TN, Xu Y, Dong Z, Hassan SS, Gomez-Lopez N. HMGB1 Induces an Inflammatory Response in the Chorioamniotic Membranes That Is Partially Mediated by the Inflammasome. Biol Reprod. 2016 Dec;95(6):130. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.116.144139. Epub 2016 Nov 2. PubMed PMID: 27806943; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5315428.
  • Xu Y, Romero R, Miller D, Kadam L, Mial TN, Plazyo O, Garcia-Flores V, Hassan SS, Xu Z, Tarca AL, Drewlo S, Gomez-Lopez N. An M1-like Macrophage Polarization in Decidual Tissue during Spontaneous Preterm Labor That Is Attenuated by Rosiglitazone Treatment. J Immunol. 2016 Mar 15;196(6):2476-2491. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1502055. Epub 2016 Feb 17. PubMed PMID: 26889045; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4779725.
  • St Louis D, Romero R, Plazyo O, Arenas-Hernandez M, Panaitescu B, Xu Y, Milovic T, Xu Z, Bhatti G, Mi QS, Drewlo S, Tarca AL, Hassan SS, Gomez-Lopez N. Invariant NKT Cell Activation Induces Late Preterm Birth That Is Attenuated by Rosiglitazone. J Immunol. 2016 Feb 1;196(3):1044-59. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1501962. Epub 2016 Jan 6. PubMed PMID: 26740111; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4724534.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Romero R, Plazyo O, Panaitescu B, Furcron AE, Miller D, Roumayah T, Flom E, Hassan SS. Intra-Amniotic Administration of HMGB1 Induces Spontaneous Preterm Labor and Birth. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2016 Jan;75(1):3-7. doi: 10.1111/aji.12443. PubMed PMID: 26781934; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5029853.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Olson DM, Robertson SA. Interleukin-6 controls uterine Th9 cells and CD8(+) T regulatory cells to accelerate parturition in mice. Immunol Cell Biol. 2016 Jan;94(1):79-89. doi: 10.1038/icb.2015.63. Epub 2015 Jun 15. PubMed PMID: 26073576.
  • Furcron AE, Romero R, Plazyo O, Unkel R, Xu Y, Hassan SS, Chaemsaithong P, Mahajan A, Gomez-Lopez N. Vaginal progesterone, but not 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate, has antiinflammatory effects at the murine maternal-fetal interface. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Dec;213(6):846.e1-846.e19. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.08.010. Epub 2015 Aug 8. PubMed PMID: 26264823; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4729364.
  • Arenas-Hernandez M, Romero R, St Louis D, Hassan SS, Kaye EB, Gomez-Lopez N. An imbalance between innate and adaptive immune cells at the maternal-fetal interface occurs prior to endotoxin-induced preterm birth. Cell Mol Immunol. 2016 Jul;13(4):462-73. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2015.22. Epub 2015 Apr 6. PubMed PMID: 25849119; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4947814.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, StLouis D, Lehr MA, Sanchez-Rodriguez EN, Arenas-Hernandez M. Immune cells in term and preterm labor. Cell Mol Immunol. 2014 Nov;11(6):571-81. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2014.46. Epub 2014 Jun 23. Review. PubMed PMID: 24954221; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4220837.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Vega-Sanchez R, Castillo-Castrejon M, Romero R, Cubeiro-Arreola K, Vadillo-Ortega F. Evidence for a role for the adaptive immune response in human term parturition. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2013 Mar;69(3):212-30. doi: 10.1111/aji.12074. Epub 2013 Jan 24. PubMed PMID: 23347265; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3600361.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Laresgoiti-Servitje E. T regulatory cells: regulating both term and preterm labor? Immunol Cell Biol. 2012 Nov;90(10):919-20. doi: 10.1038/icb.2012.48. Epub 2012 Oct 2. PubMed PMID: 23032368.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Guilbert LJ, Olson DM. Invasion of the leukocytes into the fetal-maternal interface during pregnancy. J Leukoc Biol. 2010 Oct;88(4):625-33. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1209796. Epub 2010 Jun 2. Review. PubMed PMID: 20519637.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Laresgoiti-Servitje E, Olson DM, Estrada-Gutiérrez G, Vadillo-Ortega F. The role of chemokines in term and premature rupture of the fetal membranes: a review. Biol Reprod. 2010 May;82(5):809-14. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.109.080432. Epub 2010 Jan 20. Review. PubMed PMID: 20089887.
  • Laresgoiti-Servitje E, Gómez-López N, Olson DM. An immunological insight into the origins of pre-eclampsia. Hum Reprod Update. 2010 Sep-Oct;16(5):510-24. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmq007. Epub 2010 Apr 12. Review. Erratum in: Hum Reprod Update. 2011 Mar-Apr;17(2):291. PubMed PMID: 20388637.
  • Gomez-Lopez N, Estrada-Gutierrez G, Jimenez-Zamudio L, Vega-Sanchez R, Vadillo-Ortega F. Fetal membranes exhibit selective leukocyte chemotaxic activity during human labor. J Reprod Immunol. 2009 Jun;80(1-2):122-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2009.01.002. Epub 2009 Apr 29. PubMed PMID: 19406481.

Distinguished Faculty


Nardhy Gomez-Lopez, MSc, Ph.D.

Director of the Perinatal Immunobiology Unit, Wayne State University Perinatal Initiative in support of the Perinatology Research Branch, NICHD/NIH/DHHS, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, Wayne State University School of Medicine