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OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to investigate iron status parameters in preeclampsia with a view to exploring their possible contribution to the etiology. STUDY DESIGN: In prepared serum samples from 40 preeclamptic women and matched pregnant control subjects at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, a number of iron status parameters were measured. Statistical analysis was by the Wilcoxon signed rank test and linear regression. RESULTS: Serum iron concentration, ferritin, and percent saturation of transferrin were significantly higher in the preeclamptic patients than in control subjects, whereas unsaturated iron-binding capacity and apotransferrin levels were significantly lower. No difference was found in hemopexin concentrations in the two groups. Gestational age at the time of sampling was correlated (positively) with only two parameters, total and unsaturated iron-binding capacity, but only in the preeclampsia group. Eighteen percent of preeclamptic subjects had percent transferrin saturation levels in the region associated with iron overload. CONCLUSION: Released iron species in preeclampsia may contribute to the etiology and will exacerbate lipid peroxidation and endothelial cell injury. Given the high prevalence of heterozygosity for hemochromatosis with the associated reduced ability to exclude ingested iron, it would seem inadvisable, in the absence of evidence of iron deficiency, to give iron supplements to pregnant women at high risk for preeclampsia.


Journal article


Am J Obstet Gynecol

Publication Date





412 - 418


Apoproteins, Case-Control Studies, Female, Ferritins, Gestational Age, Hemopexin, Humans, Iron, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Transferrin