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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Mar;174(3):975-82.

Fasting serum triglycerides, free fatty acids, and malondialdehyde are increased in preeclampsia, are positively correlated, and decrease within 48 hours post partum.

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Magee-Womens Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



We tested the hypothesis that serum free (nonesterified) fatty acid and triglyceride concentrations are increased in nulliparous women with preeclampsia relative to women with uncomplicated pregnancies and that these lipids decrease post partum, consistent with the known resolution of clinical symptoms. The relationships between serum concentrations of these lipids and the lipid peroxidation metabolite malondialdehyde were also examined.


Predelivery and 24 to 48 hour postpartum venous blood samples were collected from eight women with preeclampsia and nine women with uncomplicated pregnancies after an 8- to 10-hour fast. Sera were analyzed for concentrations of triglycerides, free fatty acids, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and malondialdehyde.


Antepartum serum triglyceride and free fatty acid concentrations were increased approximately twofold in women with preeclampsia relative to uncomplicated pregnancies (p <0.02 and 0.004, respectively). Total, high-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations did not differ between groups. Concentrations of all lipids decreased significantly in both groups within 48 hours post partum. However, triglyceride and free fatty acid concentrations remained higher in women with preeclampsia (p<0.006, both variables). Triglyceride and free fatty acid concentrations correlated positively, both ante partum (R2 0.42, p<0.01) and post partum (R2 0.39, p<0.02). Antepartum concentrations of malondialdehyde were 50% higher in women with preeclampsia (p<0.01) and decreased post partum (p <0.02) but did not decrease in controls (p = 0.07). Antepartum serum triglycerides and free fatty acids correlated positively with malondialdehyde concentrations (R2 0.38, p <0.02, both cases).


Triglycerides and free fatty acids, but not cholesterol, are increased in preeclampsia and correlate with the lipid peroxidation metabolite malondialdehyde. We speculate that these interactions may contribute to endothelial cell dysfunction in preeclampsia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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