Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if endothelin levels are elevated in women with preeclampsia and if these levels correlated with other laboratory features of disease severity.
Study design: Parameters were compared in four groups of women volunteers by means of analysis of variance: (1) 16 women with preeclamptic pregnancies, (2) 11 pregnant women without preeclampsia, of similar lengths of gestation, (3) six otherwise normal women with pregnancies at term or beyond (greater than 38 weeks), and (4) 22 normotensive young women.
Results: Endothelin levels were elevated in women with preeclampsia as compared with those of gestation-matched pregnant and nonpregnant controls (22.6 +/- 2.0 vs 12.0 +/- 1.0 vs 10.4 +/- 1.3 pmol/L, p less than 0.005, preeclampsia vs controls) and also were increased in late gestation (17.7 +/- 2.0 pmol/L). Endothelin correlated positively with plasma levels of uric acid (r = 0.698, p less than 0.005) and inversely with creatinine clearance (r = -0.659, p less than 0.05).
Conclusion: Circulating endothelin levels are elevated in women with preeclampsia and correlate closely with serum uric acid levels and measures of renal dysfunction. These observations suggest that endothelin may contribute to renal vasoconstriction in preeclampsia.