Erythrocyte changes in preeclampsia: relationship between maternal and cord blood erythrocyte damage

J Perinat Med. 2009;37(1):19-27. doi: 10.1515/JPM.2009.007.


Our aim was to evaluate red blood cell (RBC) changes in normal and preeclamptic cases, and to assess the relationship between maternal and umbilical cord blood (UCB) changes. We evaluated markers of RBC damage: membrane bound hemoglobin (MBH) and band 3 profile - high molecular weight aggregates (HMWSAg), monomer and proteolytic fragments. RBCs are marked for removal by a rise in MBH and in HMWAg. Preeclamptic mothers had significantly higher MBH, RBC count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, reticulocytes and reticulocyte production index (RPI). In UCB from newborns of preeclamptic mothers, we found similar HMWAg, RBC count, hemoglobin and hematocrit; significantly higher MBH, mean cell hemoglobin concentration, mean cell volume, RPI and reticulocyte count. Maternal MBH and HMWAg values were positively and significantly correlated with MBH and HMWAg values in UCB, in normal as well as in preeclamptic pregnancies; in preeclampsia, a significant positive correlation between UCB and maternal bilirubin, and between RPI and proteinuria were found. We conclude that markers of RBC damage/production are altered in preeclampsia, in both UCB and maternal circulation. Our data show similarities between UCB and maternal RBC changes, as suggested by the correlations of markers of RBC damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Protein Electrophoresis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Erythrocyte Indices
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / chemistry
  • Erythrocytes / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Hemoglobins