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J Hum Hypertens. 2012 Apr;26(4):236-41. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2011.29. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

The relationship between circulating endothelin-1, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 and soluble endoglin in preeclampsia.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.


Placental overproduction of anti-angiogenic soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and soluble endoglin (sEng) has a key role in the development of preeclampsia (PE). Circulating endothelin-1 (ET-1) levels are also elevated in PE. In this study, we investigated the correlation between ET-1 and sFlt-1, placental growth factor (PlGF), sEng levels during uncomplicated normotensive pregnancy and PE. A total of 218 pregnant primigravid women were enrolled: 110 with PE and 108 uncomplicated normotensive pregnancies. PE was defined as new onset of elevated blood pressure (BP) >140/90 mm Hg and ≥2+ proteinuria on two occasions after 20 weeks of gestation in previously normotensive pregnant women. Circulating ET-1, sFlt-1, sEng and PlGF levels were estimated using enzyme immunoassays, and correlation between variables was ascertained. Women with PE showed higher levels of sFlt-1 (41.5±15.7 vs 6.15±3.4 ng ml(-1), P<0.001), sEng (84.9±38.8 vs 13.2±6.3 ng ml(-1), P<0.001), ET-1 (1.52±0.55 vs 0.88±0.35 pg ml(-1), P<0.001) and sFlt-1:PlGF ratio (591.1±468.4 vs 18.3±2.1, P<0.001); and lower levels of PlGF (96.3±47.2 vs 497.6±328.2 pg ml(-1), P<0.001). BP levels showed an independent relationship with sFlt-1:PlGF ratio in normotensive pregnant women and with sFlt-1:PlGF ratio and ET-1 in PE. sFlt-1 and sFlt-1:PlGF ratio correlated with proteinuria. ET-1 correlated significantly with sFlt-1, sEng and sFlt-1:PlGF ratio in PE. Our results show an association between elevation of sFlt-1 and sEng and ET-1 in the maternal circulation in PE, and strengthen the possibility that ET-1 may be a mediator in genesis of PE syndrome secondary to anti-angiogenic factors released by the placenta.

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