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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Obstetrics - Physiology - Women's Health

Serum Concentrations of Soluble Flt-1 Are Decreased among Women with a Viable Fetus and No Symptoms of Miscarriage Destined for Pregnancy Loss
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Author: Tu'uhevaha J. Kaitu'u-Lino et al.

by Tu'uhevaha J. Kaitu'u-Lino, Clare L. Whitehead, Gene-Lyn Ngian, Michael Permezel, Stephen Tong

Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy. Pre-clinical miscarriage has an estimated incidence of 30%, whilst clinical miscarriage has an incidence of 12-15%. Two thirds of pregnancies lost to miscarriage are believed to be attributable to defective placentation, thus a number of studies have sought to identify markers of defective placentation that could be used as clinical biomarkers of miscarriage. Decreased soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt1), placental growth factor (PlGF), and soluble endoglin (sEng) in the maternal circulation during the first trimester have recently been proposed as potential markers of pregnancy loss. However, in these studies clinical samples were only obtained once women had presented with symptoms of miscarriage. In this study we prospectively screened serum samples collected from asymptomatic women with a viable fetus. We assessed maternal serum levels of sFlt1, PlGF and sEng across the first trimester of normal pregnancy and compared levels between women who continued to a live birth, to those who subsequently miscarried. Both sFlt1 and PlGF significantly (p=0.05) increased across gestation in normal pregnancy with serum levels rising from 0.65±0.12 ng/ml at 6 weeks to 1.85±0.24 ng/ml at 12 weeks for sFlt1, and 57.2±19.2 pg/ml to 106±22.7 pg/ml for PlGF. sEng remained unchanged throughout the the first trimester. Importantly we detected a significant (35%, p=0.05) decrease in sFlt1 levels between our control and miscarriage cohort, however there was significant overlap between cases and controls, suggesting serum sFlt1 is unlikely to be useful as a clinical biomarker in asymptomatic women. Nevertheless, our data suggests a dysregulation of angiogenic factors may be involved in the pathophysiology of miscarriage.