Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate plasma adenosine levels during normal pregnancy and to evaluate the possible roles of platelet activation and 5'-nucleotidase as causes of changes in adenosine levels.
Study design: We measured plasma adenosine levels, the platelet activation markers beta-thromboglobulin and platelet factor 4, and 5'-nucleotidase activity, which catalyzes dephosphorylation from adenosine monophosphate to adenosine, in 34 nonpregnant women and 34 women with normal pregnancies in the third trimester.
Results: The mean plasma adenosine level in pregnant women was 0.59 +/- 0.08 micromol/L (mean +/- SEM), which was significantly higher than that found in nonpregnant women (0.18 +/- 0.04 micromol/L; P <.01). In pregnant women plasma beta-thromboglobulin levels, platelet factor 4 levels, and 5'-nucleotidase activity were significantly higher than in nonpregnant women (P <.05).
Conclusion: The increase of plasma adenosine may be attributed at least in part to platelet activation and an increase of 5'-nucleotidase activity during normal pregnancy. This increase may be an endogenous compensatory mechanism that diminishes platelet activation and maintains vessel integrity during normal pregnancy.