Characterization of Antibody Specificities Associated With Preeclampsia

Hypertension. 2014 May;63(5):1086-93. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.02362. Epub 2014 Jan 20.


The presence of maternal autoantibodies has been previously associated with preeclampsia, although the composition of the antibody repertoire in preeclampsia has not been well characterized. Given this, we applied a bacterial display peptide library to identify peptides that preferentially react with plasma antibodies from patients with preeclampsia (n=15) versus healthy-outcome pregnancies (n=18). Screening using fluorescence-activated cell sorting identified 38 peptides that preferentially bind to antibodies from individuals with preeclampsia. These preeclampsia-specific peptides possessed similar motifs of R(G)/S(G)/-WW(G)/S, RWW(G)/S, or WGWGXX(R)/K distinct from the angiotensin II type 1 receptor epitope AFHYESQ. Seven library-isolated peptides and a cell surface-displayed angiotensin II type 1 receptor epitope were used to construct a diagnostic algorithm with a training set of 18 new preeclamptic and 22 healthy-outcome samples from geographically distinct cohorts. Cross-validation within the training group resulted in averaged areas underneath a receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.78 and 0.72 with and without the known receptor epitope, respectively. In a small validation set (12 preeclamptic; 8 healthy), the algorithm consisting only of library-isolated peptides correctly classified 10 preeclamptic and 6 healthy samples using a predefined cutoff that achieved 61% sensitivity (95% confidence interval, 36%-83%) at 95% specificity (95% confidence interval, 77%-100%) in training set (n=40) cross-validation. Our results indicate that antibodies with specificities other than anti-angiotensin II type 1 receptor are prevalent in preeclampsia patients and may be useful as diagnostic biomarkers.

Keywords: antibodies; biological markers; diagnosis; peptide library; preeclampsia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Antibodies / blood
  • Antibodies / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity / immunology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia / immunology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Epitopes
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1