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OBJECTIVE: Poor placentation in early pregnancy is thought to lead to an excessive maternal systemic inflammatory response, which causes the maternal syndrome of preeclampsia. The aims of this retrospective study were to confirm old reports of increased blood levels of pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) in preeclampsia and how its levels correlate with the levels of other placental and endothelial proteins that are reported to be elevated in preeclampsia. METHODS: Nineteen women with preeclampsia symptoms were matched with 19 normal pregnant controls for gestational age, maternal age, and parity. PAPP-A, placental pregnancy-specific beta1-glycoprotein (SP1), inhibin A, activin A, and sE-selectin were measured in serum using specific ELISAs. RESULTS: Maternal serum levels of PAPP-A, inhibin A, activin A and sE-selectin were increased in women with preeclampsia (mean 157.7 vs. 76.85 mIU/mL, p=0.005; 3.08 vs. 1.51 ng/mL, p=0.002, 32.36 vs. 3.77 ng/mL, p<0.001 and 62.15 vs. 46.37 ng/mL, p=0.02 respectively), compared to controls. Serum levels of SP1 were not altered in preeclampsia. PAPP-A (r=0.636, p<0.01) had a positive correlation with sE-selectin in patients with preeclampsia. Serum inhibin A and activin A had a significant positive correlation with each other in preeclampsia. CONCLUSIONS: Raised levels of PAPP-A in preeclampsia confirm earlier reports. Activin A showed the highest increase over the controls and is thus likely to be a better serum marker for this pathology than the other markers that were tested.

Original publication




Journal article


Hypertens Pregnancy

Publication Date





45 - 55


Activins, Adolescent, Adult, Biomarkers, Case-Control Studies, E-Selectin, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Female, Humans, Inhibin-beta Subunits, Inhibins, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A, Pregnancy-Specific beta 1-Glycoproteins, Retrospective Studies