Objective: To investigate the distribution of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms and soluble form of VEGF receptor 1 (sFlt-1) in the follicular fluid (FF) of in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients in relationship to age, body mass index (BMI), diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and their correlation with IVF outcomes.
Design: Prospective study.
Main outcome measures: VEGF( 121) and VEGF(165) isoforms were detected using Western blotting and pixel density analysis. The concentration of sFlt-1 was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In vitro fertilization outcomes measured included number of oocytes retrieved, fertilization rate, and clinical pregnancy. Statistical analysis used the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U test where appropriate.
Results: There was a statistically significant association between higher VEGF(165) levels and the diagnosis of PCOS, BMI ≥ 30, and age ≥40 years. In vitro fertilization cycles resulting in pregnancy were linked to statistically lower VEGF(165) levels in the FF. No statistically significant trend was identified in levels of VEGF(121) or sFlt-1 relative to patient characteristics or IVF outcomes.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that elevated VEGF(165) levels are associated with less favorable patient characteristics and clinical IVF outcomes.