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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 May;184(6):1267-72.

Low maternal serum levels of placenta growth factor as an antecedent of clinical preeclampsia.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, USA.



Maternal serum placenta growth factor levels have been shown to be significantly reduced in women with established preeclampsia. However, the temporal change in serum placenta growth factor levels before the clinical onset of preeclampsia is not known.


Serum samples were collected from patients at the first prenatal (5-15 weeks' gestation), second-trimester (16-20 weeks' gestation), and third-trimester (26-30 weeks' gestation) visits. Serum placenta growth factor levels were determined and analyzed according to pregnancy outcome.


Maternal placenta growth factor levels during normal gestation increased dramatically from the first to the third trimester. At the same gestational time points, in contrast, significantly lower serum placenta growth factor levels were found in patients in whom mild or severe preeclampsia eventually developed (P <.01). Low maternal serum placenta growth factor levels during early gestation were associated with a significant odds ratio for development of preeclampsia (P <.005).


Relatively decreased levels of serum placenta growth factor occur before the onset of clinical preeclampsia, which suggests that placenta growth factor measurement could be used to discriminate those pregnancies predisposed to development of preeclampsia.

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