JOURNAL ARTICLE

Oxidative stress in pre-eclampsia

R S Bowen, J Moodley, M F Dutton, A J Theron
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 2001, 80 (8): 719-25
11531614

BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that maternal plasma, cord plasma and placental tissue lipid peroxidation products are increased and antioxidants are decreased in women with pre-eclampsia.

METHODS: Placenta, maternal and cord plasma were collected at delivery from 29 normal, 21 pre-eclamptic and six eclamptic women. Plasma was collected from 21 non-pregnant matched controls. The analyses were measured by HPLC and colorimetric assay.

RESULTS: Plasma maternal concentrations of uric acid, LPO, MDA, ascorbic acid, vitamin E and cholesterol were not significantly different in pre-eclampsia as compared with normal pregnancy. Plasma concentrations of ascorbic acid and vitamin E were not significantly different in normal pregnancy as compared with the non-pregnant controls. Cord plasma concentrations of MDA were significantly higher in eclampsia (1.16+/-0.26 micromol/l) as compared with normal pregnancy (0.79+/-0.05 micromol/l, p<0.02) and pre-eclampsia (0.83+/-0.05 micromol/l, p<0.05). Cord plasma concentrations of vitamin E were significantly higher in eclampsia (21.3+/-7.5 micromol/l) as compared with normal pregnancy (10.2+/-1.1 micromol/l, p<0.01) and pre-eclampsia (10.4+/-1.8 micromol/l, p<0.04). Placental concentrations of LPO, MDA and ascorbic acid were not significantly different in pre-eclampsia as compared with normal pregnancy. Plasma cord concentrations of LPO and placental concentrations of vitamin E were undetected for normal pregnant, pre-eclamptic and eclamptic women respectively. Uric acid concentrations were significantly increased in eclampsia as compared with the non-pregnant controls (p<0.0001), normal pregnant controls (p<0.0001) and pre-eclampsia (p<0.008).

CONCLUSIONS: The findings in this study do not show any evidence of deficiency in the maternal protective antioxidant systems or increased production of lipid peroxidation products, LPO and MDA in African women with pre-eclampsia as compared with normal pregnancy. However, there was evidence of increased cord plasma concentrations of MDA and vitamin E in eclampsia as compared with normal pregnancy and pre-eclampsia. The placenta may be effective in removing MDA. The antioxidant uric acid serves as a protective role whilst the antioxidant and oxidant capacity in the different study groups remained unchanged.

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