Oxidative Stress, Angiogenesis and Inflammation in Normal Pregnancy and Postpartum

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The aims were to investigate oxidative stress (I), angiogenesis (II) and inflammation (III-IV) in healthy women during pregnancy and postpartum. Oxidative stress was estimated by measurement of 8-iso-PGF2? and the antioxidants ?- and ?-tocopherol. The angiogenic factors PlGF, VEGF-A and the antiangiogenic factor sFlt1 were measured to estimate angiogenesis. PTX3, IL-6, TNF-? and a PGF2? metabolite were measured to estimate inflammation.Out of 52 included women, 15 had minor pregnancy complications and 37 were classified as normal. In study III data from all 52 women were used. For the other studies (I, II and IV) only data from the 37 women with normal pregnancy were used. Pregnancy was associated with increased levels of 8-iso-PGF2? with advancing gestational age. The median postpartum value corresponded to values observed in early gestation and a significant decrease was observed from late pregnancy to postpartum. Lipid-adjusted ?- and ?-tocopherol levels decreased with advancing gestational age (I). PlGF increased from early pregnancy until weeks 29–30 and thereafter decreased until week 40. sFlt1 levels were relatively constant until weeks 29–30, when they increased, reaching a peak at weeks 39–40. Postpartum levels were low. The sFlt1:PlGF ratio decreased from weeks 9–12, was constantly low from weeks 19–20 to 37–38 and then increased to weeks 39–40. VEGF-A was detectable in only 8 % of the samples during pregnancy and in 64 % postpartum (II). There was a continuous increase of PTX3 as pregnancy progressed. The increase was most evident after week 31 with the highest levels just before delivery (III). IL-6 increased throughout pregnancy and remained high postpartum. No change in TNF-? could be seen with advancing gestational age or postpartum. The PGF2? metabolite levels increased throughout pregnancy and decreased postpartum (IV).In conclusion, normal pregnancy is associated with mild oxidative stress and inflammation. This might have physiological effects for normal pregnancy development. By delineating how these mediators of oxidative stress, angiogenesis and inflammation fluctuate throughout normal pregnancy and postpartum, we have established a reference for studies of these factors in pregnancy complications.