• Soluble Flt-1 and PlGF: new markers of early pregnancy loss?

      Muttukrishna, Shanthi; Swer, Michelle; Suri, Sangeeta; Jamil, Amna; Calleja-Agius, Jean; Gangooly, Subrata; Ludlow, Helen; Jurkovic, Davor; Jauniaux, Eric; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Anu Research Centre, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Republic of Ireland., S.Muttukrishna@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      Recent data have indicated a relationship between placental oxygen and angiogenic protein levels in the first trimester of normal pregnancies. Our objective was to investigate if maternal serum levels of angiogenic factors Soluble vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 1 (sFlt-1), soluble Endoglin and placental growth factor (PlGF) are altered in women with symptoms of threatened miscarriage (TM) and if they are predictive of a subsequent miscarriage. Blood samples were collected at 6-10 weeks from women presenting with TM (n = 40), from asymptomatic controls (n = 32) and from non- pregnant women in their luteal phase (n = 14). All samples were assayed for serum level of sFLT-1, PlGF, sEndoglin and HSP70 using commercial ELISAs. Samples were analysed retrospectively on the basis of pregnancy outcome. TM group included 21 women with a normal pregnancy outcome and 19 with subsequent complete miscarriage. The latter subgroup had significantly lower mean maternal serum (MS) sFlt-1 (83%, P<0.001) and PlGF (44%, P<0.001) compared to those with a normal pregnancy outcome. Asymptomatic control pregnant women had similar MS levels of sFlt-1 and PlGF compared to the TM patients with a normal outcome. The mean MS sFlt-1 (>10 fold) and MS PlGF ( approximately 2 fold) levels were significantly (P<0.001) higher in control pregnant women compared to the non-pregnant group in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Soluble Endoglin was not altered in the normal pregnant women compared to non pregnant women, although lower in the TM subgroup with a subsequent miscarriage ( approximately 25%, P<0.001) compared to TM with a live birth. There was no significant difference in the mean MS HSP 70 levels between the different groups. This study shows that sFlt1 and PlGF MS levels are increased by several folds in early pregnancy and that MS sFlt-1 and MS PlGF are markedly decreased in threatened miscarriage patients who subsequently have a miscarriage suggesting these proteins are sensitive predictive markers of subsequent pregnancy loss.