Placental growth factor and pre-eclampsia

J Hum Hypertens. 2017 Dec;31(12):782-786. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2017.61. Epub 2017 Aug 24.


Placental growth factor (PlGF) is an increasingly important molecule in the prediction, diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia. It has pro-angiogenic effects on the feto-placental circulation and supports trophoblast growth. Mechanisms by which PlGF expression is regulated continue to be investigated. Low circulating PlGF precedes the manifestation of clinical disease in pre-eclamptic pregnancies and intrauterine growth restriction. This suggests that low PlGF is a marker of abnormal placentation, but it remains uncertain whether this is a cause or consequence. Prediction of pre-eclampsia using PlGF is promising and may assist in the targeting of resources to women at highest risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Promisingly, experimental animal models of pre-eclampsia have been successfully treated with supplemental PlGF. Treatment of pre-eclampsia with PlGF is a potential therapeutic option requiring further exploration. This review focuses specifically on the role of PlGF in normal and pathological placental development and in the clinical management of pre-eclampsia.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Placenta Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Placenta Growth Factor / therapeutic use
  • Placentation*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy


  • Placenta Growth Factor