Changes in endothelial cell specific molecule 1 plasma levels during preeclamptic pregnancies compared to healthy pregnancies

Pregnancy Hypertens. 2018 Apr:12:58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.preghy.2018.02.012. Epub 2018 Mar 1.


Objective: We aimed to assess the levels of endothelial cell specific molecule 1 (ESM-1) during pregnancy and preeclampsia.

Methods: Plasma and placental samples were collected from women with a control pregnancy, early- or late-onset preeclamptic women and non-pregnant women (experiment 1). Plasma samples were collected between weeks 12 and birth from pregnant women at high risk for developing preeclampsia (experiment 2). ESM-1 plasma levels were measured by ELISA and in the placenta mRNA and protein were detected by immunohistochemistry and qPCR.

Results: In the first experiment we observed lower concentrations of ESM-1 in pregnant women as compared to non-pregnant women and higher concentrations during early- and late-onset preeclampsia as compared to control pregnancies of the same gestational age. Early- and late-onset preeclamptic pregnancies were not different from their subsequent controls in ESM-1 mRNA or protein levels in placental tissue. The second experiment showed that in women who had an control pregnancy, plasma ESM-1 levels were decreased as compared to non-pregnant women, from week 16 ± 2 until the end of pregnancy and returned to non-pregnant levels postpartum. In women who developed early- or late-onset preeclampsia, plasma ESM-1 was also decreased as compared to non-pregnant women from week 20 ± 2 until week 28 ± 2 of pregnancy. Then ESM-1 levels increased and were no longer different from levels in non-pregnant women on weeks 32 and 36.

Conclusions: Plasma ESM-1 levels are decreased during pregnancy and increased in early- and late-onset preeclampsia. The source of ESM-1 is probably not the placenta, but most likely maternal endothelial cells.

Keywords: ESM-1; Endocan; Endothelial cell specific molecule 1; Preeclampsia; Pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / blood*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Postpartum Period / blood
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia / genetics
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteoglycans / blood*
  • Proteoglycans / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Up-Regulation
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • ESM1 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proteoglycans
  • RNA, Messenger