Accurate estimate of fetal maturity could provide individualized guidance for delivery of complicated pregnancies. However, current methods are invasive, have low accuracy, and are limited to fetal lung maturation. To identify diagnostic gestational biomarkers, we performed transcriptomic profiling of lung and brain, as well as cell-free RNA from amniotic fluid of preterm and term rhesus macaque fetuses. These data identify potentially new and prior-associated gestational age differences in distinct lung and neuronal cell populations when compared with existing single-cell and bulk RNA-Seq data. Comparative analyses found hundreds of genes coincidently induced in lung and amniotic fluid, along with dozens in brain and amniotic fluid. These data enable creation of computational models that accurately predict lung compliance from amniotic fluid and lung transcriptome of preterm fetuses treated with antenatal corticosteroids. Importantly, antenatal steroids induced off-target gene expression changes in the brain, impinging upon synaptic transmission and neuronal and glial maturation, as this could have long-term consequences on brain development. Cell-free RNA in amniotic fluid may provide a substrate of global fetal maturation markers for personalized management of at-risk pregnancies.


Augusto F. Schmidt, Daniel J. Schnell, Kenneth P. Eaton, Kashish Chetal, Paranthaman S. Kannan, Lisa A. Miller, Claire A. Chougnet, Daniel T. Swarr, Alan H. Jobe, Nathan Salomonis, Beena D. Kamath-Rayne


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