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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to search for activation markers of peripheral leukocytes in experimental preeclampsia in the rat. STUDY DESIGN: Experimental preeclampsia was induced in 14-day-pregnant rats by infusion of endotoxin (1.0 microg/kg body weight). For comparison, rats with normal pregnancies that were infused with sodium chloride solution and cyclic rats that were infused with either endotoxin or sodium chloride solution were used. At various points before and after the infusion, blood samples were withdrawn and analyzed by means of whole-blood flow cytometry to evaluate expression of inflammation-associated adhesion molecules (CD11b, CD11a, CD49d, and CD62L) and CD14 on the leukocytes. RESULTS: Normal pregnancy was associated with increased CD11b (granulocytes and monocytes), CD11a (monocytes and lymphocytes), and CD49d (granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes) expression. In addition to these changes found in normal pregnancy, reduced CD62L and increased CD11a and CD49d expression was found on granulocytes after endotoxin treatment of pregnant rats. No effect of endotoxin was observed in cyclic rats. CONCLUSION: Leukocytes of rats with experimental preeclampsia and, to a lesser extent, those of rats with normal pregnancies had an activated phenotype. These results are consistent with our previous findings in human subjects and suggest that (experimental) preeclampsia results from a generalized inflammatory response.


Journal article


Am J Obstet Gynecol

Publication Date





351 - 357


Animals, Antigens, CD, CD11 Antigens, Endotoxins, Female, Flow Cytometry, Granulocytes, Integrin alpha4, L-Selectin, Leukocytes, Lipopolysaccharide Receptors, Lymphocytes, Male, Monocytes, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Rats, Rats, Wistar