Total and fetal circulating cell-free DNA, angiogenic, and antiangiogenic factors in preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome
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BACKGROUND Preeclampsia (PE) is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy characterized by hypertension and proteinuria. The HELLP syndrome is the most severe form of PE. The aim of the present study was to determine different potential biomarkers that may help us perform an early diagnosis of the disease, assess on the severity of the disease, and/or predict maternal or fetal adverse outcomes. METHODS We measured serum levels of total and fetal circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA), soluble endoglin, soluble form of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, and placental growth factor in a healthy control group of pregnant women (n = 26), patients with mild (n = 37) and severe PE (n = 25), and patients with HELLP syndrome (n = 16). RESULTS We observed a gradual and strong relationship between all the biomarkers mentioned and the range of severity of PE, with the highest levels in patients with HELLP syndrome. Nevertheless, only the values of total cfDNA were able to significantly differentiate severe PE and HELLP syndrome (20 957 ± 2 784 vs. 43 184 ± 8 647 GE/ml, P = 0.01). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed (i) for the healthy group with respect to the groups with PE and (ii) for patients with PE with respect to the group with HELLP syndrome; sensitivity and specificity values at different cutoff levels were calculated in each case. The maximum ROC area under the curve value for PE and HELLP syndrome (with respect to controls) was 0.91 (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS The measured biomarkers of cell damage, angiogenesis, and antiangiogenesis may reflect the severity of PE, with higher levels in patients who develop HELLP syndrome. In addition, these biomarkers may also help predict adverse fetal and maternal outcomes. © American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd 2017.
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