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      Elevated Serum sFlt-1/Ang-2 Ratio in Women with Preeclampsia

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          Abstract

          Background: An imbalance of angiogenesis-associated factors may predispose to preeclampsia. Here, we determined the ratio of serum concentration of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1), a natural inhibitor of pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) relative to angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), a natural antagonist of angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) involved in promoting angiogenesis in the presence of VEGF, in women with preeclampsia. Methods: The levels of serum sFlt-1 and Ang-2 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Significant decrease of serum Ang-2 and the increase of sFlt-1 were observed in women with preeclampsia as compared to healthy pregnant women. The serum sFlt-1/Ang-2 ratio was strikingly increased in preeclamptic women in contrast to healthy pregnant women exhibiting lower value similar to non-pregnant women. The serum sFlt-1 concentrations tended to positively correlate with mean blood pressure (BP) in preeclamptic women, but not in healthy pregnant women. A cut-off value >0.25 in the serum sFlt-1/Ang-2 ratio showed 87.1% sensitivity and 82.8% specificity in differentiating preeclamptic women from healthy pregnant women. Conclusion: The serum sFlt-1/Ang-2 ratio is significantly elevated in preeclamptic women as compared to healthy pregnant women. Remarkable difference of sFlt-1/Ang-2 ratio between these two groups with excellent specificity and sensitivity suggests the clinical usefulness of the serum sFlt-1/Ang-2 ratio in diagnosing and potentially predicting the onset of preeclampsia.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Vascular-specific growth factors and blood vessel formation.

          A recent explosion in newly discovered vascular growth factors has coincided with exploitation of powerful new genetic approaches for studying vascular development. An emerging rule is that all of these factors must be used in perfect harmony to form functional vessels. These new findings also demand re-evaluation of therapeutic efforts aimed at regulating blood vessel growth in ischaemia, cancer and other pathological settings.
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            Circulating angiogenic factors and the risk of preeclampsia.

            The cause of preeclampsia remains unclear. Limited data suggest that excess circulating soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1), which binds placental growth factor (PlGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), may have a pathogenic role. We performed a nested case-control study within the Calcium for Preeclampsia Prevention trial, which involved healthy nulliparous women. Each woman with preeclampsia was matched to one normotensive control. A total of 120 pairs of women were randomly chosen. Serum concentrations of angiogenic factors (total sFlt-1, free PlGF, and free VEGF) were measured throughout pregnancy; there were a total of 655 serum specimens. The data were analyzed cross-sectionally within intervals of gestational age and according to the time before the onset of preeclampsia. During the last two months of pregnancy in the normotensive controls, the level of sFlt-1 increased and the level of PlGF decreased. These changes occurred earlier and were more pronounced in the women in whom preeclampsia later developed. The sFlt-1 level increased beginning approximately five weeks before the onset of preeclampsia. At the onset of clinical disease, the mean serum level in the women with preeclampsia was 4382 pg per milliliter, as compared with 1643 pg per milliliter in controls with fetuses of similar gestational age (P<0.001). The PlGF levels were significantly lower in the women who later had preeclampsia than in the controls beginning at 13 to 16 weeks of gestation (mean, 90 pg per milliliter vs. 142 pg per milliliter, P=0.01), with the greatest difference occurring during the weeks before the onset of preeclampsia, coincident with the increase in the sFlt-1 level. Alterations in the levels of sFlt-1 and free PlGF were greater in women with an earlier onset of preeclampsia and in women in whom preeclampsia was associated with a small-for-gestational-age infant. Increased levels of sFlt-1 and reduced levels of PlGF predict the subsequent development of preeclampsia. Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Neutralization of circulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by anti-VEGF antibodies and soluble VEGF receptor 1 (sFlt-1) induces proteinuria.

              There are about 2.5 million glomeruli in the kidneys each consisting of a barrel of glomerular basement membrane surrounded by glomerular endothelial cells on the inside and glomerular epithelial cells with established foot processes (podocytes) on the outside. Defects in this filtration apparatus lead to glomerular vascular leak or proteinuria. The role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the regulation of glomerular vascular permeability is still unclear. Recent studies indicate that patients receiving anti-VEGF antibody therapy may have an increased incidence of proteinuria. In a different setting, pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia are associated with elevated soluble VEGF receptor 1 protein (sFlt-1), endothelial cell dysfunction and proteinuria. These studies suggest that neutralization of physiologic levels of VEGF, a key endothelial survival factor, may lead to proteinuria. In the present study, we evaluated the potential of anti-VEGF neutralizing antibodies and sFlt-1 in the induction of proteinuria. Our studies demonstrate that anti-VEGF antibodies and sFlt-1 cause rapid glomerular endothelial cell detachment and hypertrophy, in association with down-regulation of nephrin, a key epithelial protein in the glomerular filtration apparatus. These studies suggest that down-regulation or neutralization of circulating VEGF may play an important role in the induction of proteinuria in various kidney diseases, some forms of cancer therapy and also in women with preeclampsia.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NEC
                Nephron Clin Pract
                10.1159/issn.1660-2110
                Nephron Clinical Practice
                S. Karger AG
                1660-2110
                2007
                May 2007
                02 April 2007
                : 106
                : 1
                : c43-c50
                Affiliations
                Departments of aMedicine and Clinical Science, bObstetrics and Gynecology, and cCell Chemistry, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan
                Article
                101483 Nephron Clin Pract 2007;106:c43–c50
                10.1159/000101483
                17409768
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, References: 34, Pages: 1
                Categories
                Original Paper

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                sFlt-1/Ang-2 ratio, Angiogenesis, Angiopoietin-2, Preeclampsia, sFlt-1

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