Purpose: To investigate serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels and endothelial function in pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia and to clarify their relationship with uterine artery Doppler velocimetry.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in 70 pregnant women (35 patients with pre-eclampsia and 35 age-matched normotensive healthy pregnant women) during the third trimester of pregnancy. The maternal levels of serum hs-CRP were determined in all cases by immunonephelometry. Uterine artery Doppler velocimetry was performed. Flow-mediated dilatation was measured by sonography of the brachial artery for the assessment of endothelial function.
Results: Serum hs-CRP levels were higher in the pre-eclamptic group than in the normotensive group. hs-CRP levels were positively correlated with mean arterial pressure. Eleven patients with pre-eclampsia had abnormal uterine artery Doppler velocimetry. hs-CRP levels were significantly higher in pre-eclamptic patients with than without abnormal uterine artery Doppler velocimetry. Endothelial function was inversely correlated with hs-CRP levels and mean arterial pressure.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that maternal serum hs-CRP levels increase with the severity of pre-eclampsia, reflecting endothelial dysfunction and constituting a potential marker of pathological utero-placental perfusion, with a high risk for fetal growth restriction.
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