Background: Preterm birth (PTB), or birth that occurs before 37 weeks of gestation, accounts for the
majority of perinatal morbidity and mortality. As of 2016, PTB has an occurrence rate of 9.6% in the United
States and accounts for up to 18 percent of births worldwide. Inflammation has been identified as the most common
cause of PTB, but effective pharmacotherapy has yet to be developed to prevent inflammation driven PTB.
Our group has discovered that N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMA), a readily available solvent commonly used as a
pharmaceutical excipient, rescues lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced timed pregnant mice from PTB.
Methods: We have used in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro approaches to investigate this compound further.
Results: Interestingly, we found that DMA suppresses cytokine secretion by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappa B
(NF-κB). In ongoing work in this exciting line of investigation, we are currently investigating structural analogs
of DMA, some of them novel, to optimize this approach focused on the inflammation associated with PTB.
Conclusion: Successful development of pharmacotherapy for the prevention of PTB rests upon the pursuit of
multiple strategies to solve this important clinical challenge.