Objective: To define the relationship between serum and follicular fluid (FF) levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), E2, and P in patients undergoing IVF; to quantify the effects of hCG on serum levels of VEGF during early pregnancy, and to report serial measurements of serum and ascites fluid levels of VEGF in a patient with severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Design: Prospective observational study.
Setting: University IVF program.
Patients(s): Women undergoing conventional IVF, receiving donated oocytes or spontaneously conceiving. One patient hospitalized with severe OHSS.
Main outcome measure(s): Concentrations of VEGF, E2, and P in serum, FF, or peritoneal fluid.
Result(s): At the time of egg retrieval, FF VEGF concentrations were positively correlated with serum and FF P concentrations and with patient age. At 11 to 14 days after ET, pregnant recipients of autologous fresh embryos had higher serum VEGF levels than both nonpregnant recipients of autologous fresh embryos and pregnant recipients of donor eggs. Elevated serum VEGF levels in a patient with severe OHSS coincided with the clinical onset and recurrence of symptoms.
Conclusion(s): In patients undergoing IVF, FF VEGF levels at the time of egg retrieval correlated with the degree of follicular luteinization. There is a significant ovarian contribution to circulating VEGF levels during early gestation. Elevated serum VEGF levels may be a factor in the etiology of OHSS symptoms.