Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the quantitative distribution of a panel of circulating mRNAs from maternal whole blood of normal pregnancies is statistically different from those complicated with preeclampsia (PE) with or without intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
Methods: Maternal whole blood of six subjects with mild or severe PE with or without IUGR and 30 matched controls (1:5 match for gestational age) were retrospectively examined for circulating mRNA markers. Seven specific mRNA markers were identified and chosen based on previous microarray mRNA expressions performed on placental tissue from normal and PE patients. They were human placental lactogen (hPL), inhibin A, KISS-1, pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1), selectin-P and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), which were therefore quantified for statistical purposes.
Results: Median gestational age was 229 (178-283) and 232 (194-262) days for controls and cases respectively. All mRNA markers but PAPP-A, showed statistically different median values. They were hPL, inhibin A, KISS-1, PAI-1, Selectin-P, and VEGFR. Inhibin A, Selectin-P and VEGFR showed higher values than expected for controls. Instead, hPL, KISS-1 and PAI-1 values of PE patients were lower than those of controls. Selectin-P was the marker with the most aberrant difference, followed by VEGFR and KISS-1.
Conclusion: This preliminary analysis revealed that the median values of a panel of mRNAs from the maternal blood of PE patients were different from those of the same gestational age control group at the third trimester. If prospective studies at the second trimester could detect a related marker sufficiently able to discriminate between affected and unaffected patients and thus detect the disease before its clinical onset, then a screening project using a panel of mRNAs would be feasible.
2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.