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Hypertension. 2003 Nov;42(5):891-4. Epub 2003 Sep 29.

Paradoxical elevation in adiponectin concentrations in women with preeclampsia.

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Division of Developmental Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow Royal Infirmary University NHS Trust, Glasgow, Scotland.


Adiponectin is a recently identified, insulin-sensitizing and anti-inflammatory protein released by adipocytes, which is paradoxically reduced in obesity. It suppresses endothelial activation. Physiological insulin resistance occurs in normal pregnancy and is exaggerated in women with preeclampsia (PE), together with enhanced inflammatory and endothelial activation. Women with increased body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance are predisposed to PE. We hypothesized that adiponectin concentrations are reduced in normal pregnancy compared with postpartum values and further reduced in women with PE. Fifteen women with PE and 30 control subjects with similar first trimester BMI had adiponectin concentrations measured in the third trimester; postpartum measurements were repeated in 16 control subjects. Adiponectin concentration in healthy pregnant women correlated inversely with early pregnancy BMI (r=-0.47, P=0.01) and fasting insulin concentrations (r=-0.58, P=0.001). However, adiponectin concentrations did not differ significantly in pregnancy and postpartum samples (mean change, -0.15 microg/mL; 95% CI, -2.28 to 1.98, P=0.88). Plasma adiponectin concentrations were markedly elevated (P=0.01) in women with PE (mean, 21.6; SD, 8.18 microg/mL) compared with control subjects (mean, 14.7; SD, 7.06 microg/mL). Moreover, in PE, adiponectin concentrations did not correlate with first trimester BMI or insulin or with serum urate or creatinine concentrations or urinary protein levels. We conclude that plasma adiponectin concentrations are not elevated in normal human pregnancy and paradoxically elevated (by 47%) in women with PE. This may be secondary to exaggerated nonspecific adipocyte lipolysis or as a physiological response to enhance fat utilization and attenuate endothelial damage. Future studies should determine whether adiponectin concentrations help improve prediction of PE.

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