Circulating angiogenic factors in the pathogenesis and prediction of preeclampsia

Hypertension. 2005 Nov;46(5):1077-85. doi: 10.1161/01.HYP.0000187899.34379.b0. Epub 2005 Oct 17.


Preeclampsia is a major cause of maternal, fetal, and neonatal mortality worldwide. Although the etiology of preeclampsia is still unclear, recent studies suggest that its major phenotypes, high blood pressure and proteinuria, are due in part to excess circulating soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 concentrations. Soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 is an endogenous antiangiogenic protein that is made by the placenta and acts by neutralizing the proangiogenic proteins vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor. High serum soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 and low serum free placental growth factor and free vascular endothelial growth factor have been observed in preeclampsia. Abnormalities in these circulating angiogenic proteins are not only present during clinical preeclampsia but also antedate clinical symptoms by several weeks. Therefore, this raises the possibility of measuring circulating angiogenic proteins in the blood and the urine as a diagnostic and screening tool for preeclampsia. The availability of a test to predict preeclampsia would be a powerful tool in preventing preeclampsia-induced mortality, especially in developing nations, where high-risk specialists are limited. This review will summarize our current understanding of the role of circulating angiogenic proteins in the pathogenesis and clinical diagnosis/prediction of preeclampsia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / blood*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Placenta Growth Factor
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Proteins / blood
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • PGF protein, human
  • Pregnancy Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Placenta Growth Factor