The pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia is still not completely known; however, in the recent decade, there have been tremendous research efforts leading to impressive results highlighting the role of a disturbed angiogenic balance as one of the key features of the disease. Numerous studies have shown the key role of the placenta in the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia. A shift in the sFlt-1 (soluble Fms-like tyrosine kinase-1)/PlGF (placental growth factor) ratio is associated with the disease. Although pre-eclampsia seems to be a clearly defined disease, clinical presentation, and particularly the dynamics of the clinical course, can vary enormously. The only available tools to diagnose pre-eclampsia are blood pressure measurement and urine protein sampling. However, these tools have a low sensitivity and specificity regarding the prediction of the course of the disease or maternal and perinatal outcomes. The only cure for the disease is delivery, although a timely diagnosis helps in decreasing maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. The sFlt1/PlGF ratio is able to give additional valuable information on the status and progression of the disease and is apt to be implemented in the diagnostic algorithm of pre-eclampsia. In the present review, we aim to provide an overview of the vast literature on angiogenesis and anti-angiogenesis factors in pre-eclampsia that have been published over the last decade. We introduce work from basic research groups who have focused on the pathophysiological basis of the disease. Furthermore, we review studies with a clinical focus in which the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio has been analysed along with other candidates for routine clinical assessment of pre-eclampsia.

You do not currently have access to this content.