Endothelin-1,2 levels in umbilical vein serum of intra-uterine growth retarded fetuses as detected by cordocentesis

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1994 Jan;73(1):21-4. doi: 10.3109/00016349409013387.


Introduction: The objective of this study was to determine whether the circulatory levels of endothelins, potent vasoconstrictor polypeptides produced mainly by endothelial cells, are increased in growth-retarded fetuses.

Study design: Fetal venous serum samples, withdrawn by ultrasound-guided cordocentesis from 11 growth-retarded fetuses and 10 normally-growing fetuses who underwent the procedure because of other unrelated indications, were examined for immunoreactive endothelin-1,2 by radioimmunoassay.

Results: Higher mean endothelin-1,2 levels were found in the sera of growth-retarded fetuses than in controls (16.8 +/- 4.2 versus 10.9 +/- 4.3 fmol/ml, p = 0.008). Within the growth-retarded group, there were no differences in endothelin-1,2 levels in the presence of either abnormal umbilical Doppler, asymmetry of growth-retardation, maternal signs of preeclampsia, or fetal acidosis.

Conclusion: High levels of endothelin-1,2 in the fetoplacental circulation may be pathophysiologically important in fetal growth retardation. However, the clinical significance of these elevated levels is yet to be determined.

MeSH terms

  • Cordocentesis
  • Endothelins / biosynthesis*
  • Endothelins / immunology
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / blood
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods
  • Umbilical Veins


  • Endothelins