Circulating and myometrial markers of oxidative stress in pregnant women with fetal growth restriction

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2016 Jan;42(1):29-35. doi: 10.1111/jog.12857. Epub 2015 Nov 10.


Aim: The objective of this study was to identify the relationship between fetal growth restriction (FGR) and oxidative stress. The mechanisms that protect against oxidative stress in the local microenvironment were investigated by comparing the activities of the markers, both in the circulation and myometrium.

Materials and methods: Myometrial tissue and serum levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), xanthine oxidase (XO), catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) markers were measured in 20 FGR and 20 healthy pregnancies.

Results: The mean duration of gestation at delivery was shorter (P = 0003) and the mean birthweight was lower P < 0001) in the FGR study group compared with the control group, as expected. While MDA and CAT concentrations were higher in the serum (P < 0.02 and P < 0.01, respectively), but lower in the myometrial samples (P < 0.01) in the FGR versus the control group, XO and myometrial SOD values were comparable in both groups.

Conclusions: Although our data demonstrated that FGR is associated with oxidative stress, the exact role and mechanism of the oxidant and antioxidant imbalance is obscure. We speculate that despite limited local synthesis of CAT, effective and efficient removal of MDA in the uterine environment explains high MDA and CAT serum concentrations in women with FGR. Alternatively, a well-functioning myometrial system could rescue the fetus from reactive oxygen species, as demonstrated by lowered MDA and depleted CAT resulting from hyperconsumption. Elevated serum MDA and CAT levels in the serum may reflect the 'spillover' of these markers from the uterus to the circulation.

Keywords: catalase; lipid peroxidation; malondialdehyde; reactive oxygen species; superoxide dismutase; xanthine oxidase.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Catalase / blood
  • Catalase / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / blood
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism*
  • Myometrium / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism*
  • Xanthine Oxidase / blood
  • Xanthine Oxidase / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Xanthine Oxidase