Objective: To investigate whether pregnancies with development of subsequent pre-eclampsia and intra-uterine growth restriction are associated with altered levels of kisspeptin in maternal serum in the second trimester.
Study design: Retrospective case-control study of 16-20 week serum samples matched for duration of storage at -70 degrees C. Levels of kisspeptin were measured in serum from women with pregnancies with subsequent development of pre-eclampsia (n = 57), intra-uterine growth restriction (n = 118), and matched controls (n = 317).
Results: Serum kisspeptin levels were significantly lower in those women who subsequently developed pre-eclampsia than in controls [median (quartile range) 1109 (449) vs 1188 (365) pg/mL, p = 0.029] and in those with intra-uterine growth restriction [1164 (386) vs 1188 (365) pg/mL, p = 0.016].
Conclusions: Kisspeptin levels are lower in maternal serum in the second trimester, in pregnancies associated with placental dysfunction. The differences in kisspeptin are modest, so although not forming a single screening marker in pre-eclampsia and intra-uterine growth restriction, measurement of kisspeptin may be useful in combination with other markers. Understanding the role of kisspeptin in the establishment of the placenta may further our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying placental function.