Neutrophil activation in preeclampsia. Are defensins and lactoferrin elevated in preeclamptic patients?
OBJECTIVE: To determine if human defensins and lactoferrin, both markers of neutrophil activation, are elevated in preeclamptic plasma. STUDY DESIGN: Blood samples were obtained from 18 preeclamptic and 29 normal pregnant women in the third trimester. Demographic and clinical data were obtained from the medical record. No patient had evidence of labor and/or infection when blood was drawn. Preeclamptic patients were defined by elevated blood pressure, 140/90 mm Hg, proteinuria of > 300 mg in a 24-hour collection and hyperuricemia. Human defensins and lactoferrin were measured by enzyme immunoassay of plasma samples diluted 1:100 and 1:10, respectively. Standard curve values ranged from 0.25 to 16 ng/mL. Data for human defensins and lactoferrin are presented as median values +/-SE. Statistical analysis included Student's t test for comparison of clinical data, Mann-Whitney U test for comparison of absolute values between groups and Fisher's exact test, when appropriate. RESULTS: There was no difference in age or estimated gestational age between the two groups. There were more nulliparous patients in the preeclamptic group. Human defensin levels were significantly elevated (P = .005) in plasma of preeclamptic patients (25.1 ng/mL +/- 16.2) as compared to normal controls (9.0 ng/mL +/- 8.9). Nine of 18 (50%) preeclamptic patients and 2 of 29 (7%) normal controls had defensin levels above the low point on the standard curve (P = .001). There was no difference in lactoferrin levels between the two groups. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that preeclampsia is associated with neutrophil activation. The biologic effect of elevated human defensins in preeclamptic plasma remains to be determined.
Prieto, JA; Panyutich, AV; Heine, RP
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