Physiol. Res. 54: 611-622, 2005
 


Maternal Plasma VEGF, sVEGF-R1, and PlGF Concentrations in Preeclamptic and Normotensive Pregnant Zimbabwean Women

M. MUY-RIVERA1, S. VADACHKORIA1, G.B. WOELK2, C. QIU1,
K. MAHOMED3, M. A. WILLIAMS1,4

1Center for Perinatal Studies, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA, 2Department of Community Medicine and 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Zimbabwe, School of Medicine, Harare, Zimbabwe and 4Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA

Received November 9, 2004
Accepted December 17, 2004
On-line available February 16, 2005


Summary
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a disulphide-linked homodimeric glycoprotein that is selectively mitogenic for endothelial cells, plays an important role in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Preeclampsia, a relatively common complication of pregnancy that is characterized by diffuse endothelial dysfunction possibly secondary to impaired trophoblast invasion of the spiral arteries during implantation, has recently been associated with alterations in maternal serum/plasma concentrations of VEGF, and other related growth factors and their receptors. We examined the relationship of maternal plasma VEGF, sVEGF-R1 and PlGF levels to the risk of preeclampsia among women delivering at Harare Maternity Hospital, Zimbabwe. 131 pregnant women with preeclampsia and 175 controls were included in a case-control study. Maternal plasma concentrations of each biomarker were measured using enzymatic methods. We used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI). Preeclampsia risk was inversely related with quartiles of plasma VEGF (OR: 1.0, 1.0, 0.7, and 0.5, with the lowest quartile as reference; p for trend = 0.06). We noted a strong positive association between preeclampsia risk and sVEGF-R1 concentrations (OR: 1.0, 6.5, 9.7, 31.6, with the first quartile as the referent group; p for trend < 0.001). After adjusting for confounders, we noted that women with sVEGF-R1 concentrations in the highest quartile (≥ 496 pg/ml), as compared with those in the lowest quartile (< 62 pg/ml) had a 31.6-fold increased risk of preeclampsia (OR = 31.6, 95 % CI 7.7-128.9). There was no clear evidence of a linear relation in risk of preeclampsia with PlGF concentrations. In conclusion, plasma VEGF, sVEGF-R1 and PlGF concentrations (measured at delivery) were altered among Zimbabwean women with preeclampsia as compared with normotensive women. Our results are consistent with some, though not all, previous reports. Prospective studies are needed to: 1) identify modifiable determinants of maternal plasma concentrations VEGF, sVEGF-R1, and PlGF; and 2) evaluate the temporal relationship between observed alterations of these biological markers in preeclamptic pregnancies.


Key words
VEGF sVEGF-R1 PlGF Preeclampsia Pregnancy Risk Factors
 


2005 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences