The present study was performed to compare serum concentrations of maternal and fetal angiogenic growth factors in IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and normal pregnancy at the time of delivery. VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), PlGF (placental growth factor), sFlt-1 (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1), sKDR (soluble kinase domain receptor) and bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor) were measured by ELISA in serum from a maternal peripheral vein, the umbilical vein and the umbilical arteries in 15 women with pregnancies complicated by IUGR and 16 controls (women with normal pregnancies). In IUGR, sFlt-1 was increased, and PlGF and sKDR were decreased, in both maternal serum and serum from the umbilical vein. Additionally, bFGF was increased in serum from the umbilical vein of women with pregnancies complicated by IUGR. No significant differences in growth factor concentrations between the groups were found in serum from the umbilical artery. In both groups, levels of VEGF were higher and levels of sFlt-1 were lower in serum from the umbilical vein and umbilical artery compared with maternal serum. PlGF levels were found to be lower in serum from the umbilical vein compared with maternal serum in both groups, whereas PlGF levels in serum from the umbilical artery were significantly lower only in the control group. These findings suggest an imbalance of angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors in IUGR, with formation of an anti-angiogenic state in maternal and, to a lesser extent, umbilical vein blood. The placenta appears to play a central role in the release of sFlt-1 into maternal and umbilical blood. Umbilical artery blood was unaffected in IUGR, indicating that the fetus does not contribute to changes in angiogenic growth factor concentrations.

You do not currently have access to this content.