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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(10):1172-8.

Newborns of pre-eclamptic women: a biochemical difference present in utero.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Western Galilee Hospital, Technion University. P.O. Box 21, Nahariya 21000, Israel.



Offspring exposed to pre-eclampsia in utero had higher systolic blood pressure, and were more obese during adolescence. We hypothesized that metabolic changes, a marker of cardiovascular disease, may be affected by intrauterine exposure to pre-eclampsia.


Blood samples were collected from cord blood of 36 newborns who were exposed to pre-eclampsia in utero and their mothers, and of 35 newborns and their mothers with noncomplicated pregnancies. Serum levels of lipids, homocysteine, and fibrinogen were determined in all samples.


Fetuses exposed to pre-eclampsia in utero had lower birth weight, smaller abdominal circumference (p<0.002; p<0.03 respectively) and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein, homocysteine, and fibrinogen (p<0.01; p<0.001; p<0.001, respectively), compared with fetuses of normotensive, pregnancies. A significant correlation existed between maternal homocysteine concentration and that of newborn infants (r=0.539; p<0.001) and between maternal low-density lipoprotein and newborn homocysteine (r=0.36; p<0.03). Significant negative correlations were found between abdominal circumference of newborns and cord blood concentration of fibrinogen (r= - 0.52; p<0.001) and low-density lipoprotein (r= - 0.42; p<0.001). Maternal plasma homocysteine, low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride were significantly higher, while high-density lipoprotein was significantly lower in pregnancies with pre-eclampsia as compared with the uncomplicated pregnancy group (p<0.001 for all). Cord blood level of low-density lipoprotein and fibrinogen were best predicted by abdominal circumference of newborn, though maternal level of homocysteine was the most powerful independent predictor of cord homocysteine.


Intrauterine exposure to pre-eclampsia was associated with untoward effects on biochemical risk factor markers for cardiovascular disease. Our findings suggest that the cardiovascular risk of newborns of pre-eclamptic mothers may begin in utero.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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