Uterine vein and maternal urinary levels of activin A and inhibin A in pre-eclampsia patients.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2006 Apr; 64(4):469-73.CE
The aims of this study were to investigate if (i) urinary concentrations of activin A and inhibin A are altered in pre-eclampsia (PE) and (ii) to study the relationship between uterine vein and peripheral vein concentrations of these hormones in PE patients.
DESIGN AND METHOD
In a retrospective study, maternal peripheral vein and uterine vein serum and maternal urine samples collected at the time of delivery were analysed. There were three groups of patients; (i) group 1: term normal pregnancies (n = 19) (ii) group 2: patients who developed PE < or = 37 weeks (n = 17) and (iii) group 3: patients who developed PE 37-40 weeks (n = 8). Serum and urinary activin A, follistatin, inhibin A and pro alpha C and urinary creatinine levels were measured using enzyme immunoassays in the laboratory.
Normal pregnant urine samples had very low levels of activin A and inhibin A. Both groups 2 and 3 PE patients had significantly higher levels of inhibin A (P < 0.001) and activin A (P < 0.001) compared to the controls. Pro-alpha C was not altered and follistatin was below the detection limit of the assay in the urine. Maternal peripheral serum activin A and inhibin A were significantly higher in groups 2 (P < 0.001) and 3 (P < 0.05) patients compared to the controls. Pro-alpha C-containing inhibins were higher in group 2 patients (P < 0.05) compared to the controls in the peripheral circulation. Uterine vein serum activin A and inhibin A levels were also significantly higher in groups 2 (P < 0.001) and 3 (P < 0.05) patients compared to the controls. There was a highly significant positive correlation between peripheral and uterine vein serum concentrations of activin A, follistatin, inhibin A and pro alpha C, suggesting the same source for these proteins in PE.
Urinary activin A and inhibin A are raised in groups 2 and 3 PE patients. The magnitude of rise (> 25-fold) suggests these proteins may rise in patients before the onset of the clinical symptoms of PE. Uterine vein levels of these proteins are also raised in PE.