Elevated Adipsin and Reduced C5a Levels in the Maternal Serum and Follicular Fluid During Implantation Are Associated With Successful Pregnancy in Obese Women

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 Jul 13;13:918320. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.918320. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Complement factors mediate the recruitment and activation of immune cells and are associated with metabolic changes during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to determine whether complement factors in the maternal serum and follicular fluid (FF) are associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes in overweight/obese women.

Methods: Forty overweight/obese (BMI = 30.8 ± 5.2 kg/m2) female patients, 33.6 ± 6.3 years old, undergoing IVF treatment for unexplained infertility were recruited. Baseline demographic information, including biochemical hormonal, metabolic, and inflammatory markers, and pregnancy outcome, was collected. Levels of 14 complement markers (C2, C4b, C5, C5a, C9, adipsin, mannose-binding lectin, C1q, C3, C3b/iC3b, C4, factor B, factor H, and properdin) were assessed in the serum and FF and compared to IVF outcome, inflammatory, and metabolic markers using multivariate and univariate models.

Results: Out of 40 IVF cycles, 14 (35%) resulted in pregnancy. Compared to women with failed pregnancies, women with successful pregnancies had higher levels of adipsin in the serum and FF (p = 0.01) but lower C5a levels (p = 0.05). Serum adipsin levels were positively correlated with circulating levels of vitamin D (R = 0.5, p = 0.02), glucagon (R = 0.4, p = 0.03), leptin (R = 0.4, p = 0.01), resistin (R = 0.4, p = 0.02), and visfatin (R = 0.4, p = 0.02), but negatively correlated with total protein (R = -0.5, p = 0.03). Higher numbers of top-quality embryos were associated with increased levels of C3, properdin, C1q, factors H and B, C4, and adipsin, but with reduced C2 and C5a levels (p ≤ 0.01).

Conclusions: Higher adipsin and lower C5a levels in the maternal serum during implantation are potential markers of successful outcome in obese women undergoing IVF-assisted pregnancies.

Keywords: adipsin; complement factors; embryos; follicular fluid (FF); in vitro fertilization (IVF).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Complement C5a* / metabolism
  • Complement Factor D* / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follicular Fluid* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Overweight / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Properdin / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Properdin
  • Complement C5a
  • Complement Factor D