Cardiac dysfunction after preeclampsia; an overview of pro- and anti-fibrotic circulating effector molecules

Pregnancy Hypertens. 2021 Mar:23:140-154. doi: 10.1016/j.preghy.2020.12.001. Epub 2020 Dec 24.


Preeclampsia (PE) is strongly associated with heart failure (HF) later in life. The aberrant cardiac remodelling is likely initiated or amplified during preeclamptic pregnancy. Aberrant remodelling often persists after delivery and is known to relate strongly to cardiac fibrosis. This review provides an overview of pro- and anti- fibrotic circulating effector molecules that are involved in cardiac fibrosis and their association with PE. Women with PE complicated pregnancies show increased ANG-II sensitivity and elevated levels of the pro-fibrotic factors IL-6, TNF-α, TGs and FFAs compared to uncomplicated pregnancies. In the postpartum period, PE pregnancies compared to uncomplicated pregnancies have increased ANG-II sensitivity, elevated levels of the pro-fibrotic factors IL-6, TNF-α, LDL cholesterol and leptin, as well as decreased levels of the anti-fibrotic factor adiponectin. The review revealed several profibrotic molecules that associate to cardiac fibrosis during and after PE. The role that these fibrotic factors have on the heart during and after PE may improve the understanding of the link between PE and HF. Furthermore they may provide insight into the pathways in which the relation between both diseases can be understood as potential mechanisms which interfere in the process of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Unravelling the molecular mechanism and pathways involved might bring the diagnostic and therapeutic abilities of those factors a step closer.

Keywords: Anti-fibrotic molecules; Cardiac adaptation; Cardiac dysfunction; Cardiac fibrosis; Cardiac remodelling; Concentric remodelling; Heart failure; Hypertensive complicated pregnancy; Preeclampsia; Pro-fibrotic molecules.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Heart Failure / blood
  • Heart Failure / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Renin-Angiotensin System*
  • Ventricular Remodeling*


  • Biomarkers