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J Soc Gynecol Investig. 2002 Sep-Oct;9(5):308-12.

Mechanism of increased maternal serum total activin a and inhibin a in preeclampsia.

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Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Department of Pathology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02905, USA.



To determine whether increased levels of maternal serum total activin A and inhibin A in preeclampsia are related to total blood volume, urinary clearance, or placental production.


Activin A and inhibin A levels were measured in preeclamptic subjects and matched normotensive gravidas. In a subset of preeclamptic subjects (n = 21) and controls (n = 30), we performed blood volume studies. In an overlapping subset of preeclamptic subjects (n = 56), creatinine clearance results were available. Placental tissue was obtained from six preeclamptics and matched normotensive gravida for analysis of activin A and inhibin A mRNA expression.


Maternal serum levels of inhibin A but not activin A were significantly negatively correlated with blood volume in preeclampsia (r(2) =.26, P =.017, and r(2) =.02, P =.44, respectively). Levels of both proteins were negatively correlated to creatinine clearance (r(2) =.29, P <.0001, and r(2) =.15, P =.003, respectively). Placental mRNA expression for both the alpha and betaA subunits was increased in preeclampsia (P =.038 and.049, respectively).


Although placental mRNA expression of the subunits for both analytes is increased in preeclampsia, the increased levels of activin A appear to be more specifically a reflection of increased placental production than do the increased levels of inhibin A.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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