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PLoS One. 2010 Oct 12;5(10):e13270. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013270.

Effect of smoking on circulating angiogenic factors in high risk pregnancies.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.



Changes in maternal concentrations of the anti-angiogenic factors, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt1) and soluble endoglin (sEng), and the pro-angiogenic placental growth factor (PlGF) precede the development of preeclampsia in healthy women. The risk of preeclampsia is reduced in women who smoke during pregnancy. The objective of this study was to investigate whether smoking affects concentrations of angiogenic factors (sFlt1, PlGF, and sEng) in women at high risk for developing preeclampsia.


We performed a secondary analysis of serum samples from 993 high-risk women (chronic hypertension, diabetes, multifetal gestation, and previous preeclampsia) in a preeclampsia prevention trial. sFlt1, sEng and PlGF were measured in serum samples obtained at study entry, which was prior to initiation of aspirin (median 19.0 weeks' [interquartile range of 16.0-22.6 weeks']). Smoking status was determined by self-report.


sFlt1 was not significantly different in smokers from any high-risk groups compared to their nonsmoking counterparts. PlGF was higher among smokers compared to nonsmokers among diabetic women (142.7 [77.4-337.3] vs 95.9 [48.5-180.7] pg/ml, p = 0.005) and women with a history of preeclampsia (252.2 [137.1-486.0] vs 152.2 [73.6-253.7] pg/ml, p = 0.001). sEng was lower in smokers with multifetal gestations (5.8 [4.6-6.5] vs 6.8 [5.5-8.7] ng/ml, p = 0.002) and trended lower among smokers with diabetes (4.9 [3.8-5.6] vs 5.3 [4.3-6.3] ng/ml, p = 0.05). Smoking was not associated with a lower incidence of preeclampsia in any of these groups.


In certain high-risk groups, smoking is associated with changes in the concentrations of these factors towards a pro-angiogenic direction during early pregnancy; however, there was no apparent association between smoking and the development of preeclampsia in our cohort.

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