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Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Jul;106(1):144-9.

Reduction of the disintegrin and metalloprotease ADAM12 in preeclampsia.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.



The secreted form of ADAM12 is a metalloprotease that may be involved in placental and fetal growth. We examined whether the concentration of ADAM12 in first-trimester maternal serum could be used as a marker for preeclampsia.


We developed a semiautomated, time-resolved, immunofluorometric assay for the quantification of ADAM12 in serum. The assay detected ADAM12 in a range of 78-1248 microg/L. Serum samples derived from women in the first trimester of a normal pregnancy (n = 324) and from women who later developed preeclampsia during pregnancy (n = 160) were obtained from the First Trimester Copenhagen Study. ADAM12 levels were assayed in these serum samples. Serum levels of ADAM12 were converted to multiples of the median (MoM) after log-linear regression of concentration versus gestational age.


Serum ADAM12 levels in women who developed preeclampsia during pregnancy had a mean log MoM of -0.066, which was significantly lower than the mean log MoM of -0.001 for ADAM12 levels observed in serum samples from women with normal pregnancy (P = .008). The mean log MoM was even lower in serum derived from preeclamptic women whose infant's weight at birth was less than 2,500 g (n = 27, mean log MoM of -0.120, P = .053).


The maternal serum levels of ADAM12 are significantly lower during the first trimester in women who later develop preeclampsia during pregnancy when compared with levels in women with normal pregnancies. Because the secreted form of ADAM12 cleaves insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP)-3 and IGFBP-5, the IGF axis may play a role in preeclampsia. ADAM12 may be a useful early marker for preeclampsia.



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