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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar;35(3):280-5. doi: 10.1002/uog.7548.

Placental growth factor in the first trimester: relationship with maternal factors and placental Doppler studies.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



Placental growth factor (PlGF) is a potent angiogenic factor that impacts on early placental vascular development. It was our aim to clarify relationships between PlGF and first-trimester maternal/placental factors that are related to placental development.


Prospectively enrolled patients at 11-14 weeks' gestation had serum PlGF measurement by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results were related to maternal age, parity, race, body mass index, mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), smoking/caffeine use and parameters of placental blood flow resistance.


In 110 consecutive patients PlGF levels ranged between 1.0 and 176.1 pg/mL, showing a linear relationship with gestational age (GA) (PlGF = (1.4251 x GA) -74.951, r(2) = 0.0765, F = 8.941, P = 0.03). PlGF did not relate to maternal demographics but negatively correlated with MAP (Spearman rho = -0.191, P < 0.05). Bilateral uterine artery notching was associated with lower PlGF (40.7 (range, 1.01-131.6) vs. 51.1 (range, 6.4-176.1) pg/mL; Mann-Whitney P = 0.034.). A trend to lower levels was also observed when umbilical artery end-diastolic flow was absent (37.1 (range, 6.8-95) vs. 49.3 (range, 1.01-176.1) pg/mL; P = 0.05).


PlGF in the first trimester is related to maternal cardiovascular factors and placental Doppler findings that are associated with subsequent placental dysfunction. The utility of this parameter as a first-trimester screening tool on a population basis requires further investigation.

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