Bosio, Paul M., Wheeler, Timothy, Anthony, Frederick, Conroy, Ronan, O'Herlihy, Colm and McKenna, Peter
Maternal plasma vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations in normal and hypertensive pregnancies and their relationship to peripheral vascular resistance
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 184, (2), . (doi:10.1067/mob.2001.108342).
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Objective: The aim of this study was to measure maternal plasma vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations during normal and hypertensive pregnancies and examine their relationship with maternal total peripheral resistance values.
Study Design: Plasma concentrations of total immunoreactive vascular endothelial growth factor and total peripheral resistances were measured serially throughout pregnancy in 20 women with preeclampsia, 24 women with gestational hypertension, and 26 normotensive control women. One-way analysis of variance and a regression model were used to analyze the vascular endothelial growth factor levels in the groups and the relationship between vascular endothelial growth factor concentration and total peripheral resistance.
Results: At 10 to 14 weeks’ gestation plasma vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations in all subjects were 4 to 5 times greater than the levels measured post partum (P < .0001). Mean vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations were similar in the control and gestational hypertension groups; in both groups levels remained stable until 34 to 36 weeks’ gestation, when levels increased a further 1.3-fold (P < .01). In comparison, vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations in subjects in the preeclampsia group were greater at 28 to 32 weeks’ gestation (P = .002) and at 34 to 36 weeks’ gestation (P < .001). Vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations were also increased during the 4 weeks that preceded the diagnosis of preeclampsia (P < .05). Vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations were associated with the elevated total peripheral resistance observed during the clinical disorder in the preeclampsia group but not in the other groups.
Conclusion: Maternal plasma vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations increased before the clinical onset of preeclampsia and were further elevated during the vasoconstricted state observed in this disorder. We speculate that the hyperdynamic circulation that characterizes the latent phase of preeclampsia causes vascular shear stress, which in turn increases the levels of circulating vascular endothelial growth factor. Because vascular endothelial growth factor normally acts as a vasodilator, its increase may represent an unsuccessful vascular rescue response.
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