Amniotic fluid—soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 in preeclampsia

P Vuorela, S Helske, C Hornig, K Alitalo, H Weich, E Halmesmäki
Obstetrics and Gynecology 2000, 95 (3): 353-7

OBJECTIVE: To measure the levels of the soluble receptor for the potent angiogenic agent vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in amniotic fluid (AF) in healthy and complicated pregnancies, and compare them with levels of erythropoietin, another factor upregulated by hypoxia.

METHODS: We assessed amniotic fluid from the second (n = 35, gestational weeks 14-19) and third (n = 29) trimesters of healthy women, and from the third trimesters of preeclamptic (n = 22) and diabetic women with (n = 11) or without preeclampsia (n = 34) and from women with fetal growth restriction (FGR) (n = 14) for soluble VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR-1) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

RESULTS: In early normal pregnancy, AF-soluble VEGFR-1 levels were higher (median 22 ng/mL, range 2.3-29.5 ng/mL) than in the third trimester (median 13 ng/mL, range 0.5-32 ng/mL; P < .05). In preeclamptic women during the third trimester, levels were higher (median 20 ng/mL, range 10.5-37 ng/mL; P < .05) than healthy controls. The lowest third-trimester levels were in diabetic women (median 11 ng/mL, range 0.5-27 ng/mL). In women with preeclampsia and diabetes, AF-soluble VEGFR-1 levels remained lower (median 13, range 6-32 ng/mL; P < .05) than in women with preeclampsia alone. Amniotic fluid levels of soluble VEGFR-1 in women with FGR (median 19.5 ng/mL, range 5-40 ng/mL) did not statistically differ from those of controls. The AF levels of soluble VEGFR-1 did not correlate with those of erythropoietin. Soluble VEGFR-1 was clearly detectable (median 14 ng/mL, range 9-22 ng/mL) in culture media from placental biopsies (n = 20).

CONCLUSION: Preeclampsia is associated with increased levels of soluble VEGFR-1, which are independent of erythropoietin, another hypoxia-inducible factor.

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