Microvascular function in pre-eclampsia is influenced by insulin resistance and an imbalance of angiogenic mediators

Ghosh, Anshuman, Freestone, Nicholas S, Anim-Nyame, Nicholas and Arrigoni, Francesca I F (2017) Microvascular function in pre-eclampsia is influenced by insulin resistance and an imbalance of angiogenic mediators. Physiological Reports, 5(8), e13185. ISSN (online) 2051-817X


In preeclampsia, maternal microvascular function is disrupted and angiogenesis is dysfunctional. Insulin resistance that occurs in some pregnancies also pathologically affects microvascular function. We wished to examine the relationship of angiogenic mediators and insulin resistance on microvascular health in pregnancy. We performed a nested, case-control study of 16 women who developed preeclampsia with 17 normal pregnant controls. We hypothesized that the impaired microvascular blood flow in preeclamptic women associated with an increased ratio of the antiangiogenic factors; (s-endoglin [sEng] and soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 [sFlt-1]) and proangiogenic molecule (placental growth factor [PlGF]) could be influenced by insulin resistance. Serum samples taken after 28 weeks of gestation were measured for the angiogenic factors, insulin, and glucose alongside the inflammatory marker; tumor necrosis factor-α and endothelial activation, namely; soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and e-selectin. Maternal microvascular blood flow, measured by strain gauge plethysmography, correlated with ratios of pro- and antiangiogenic mediators independently of preeclampsia. Decreased microvascular function measured in preeclampsia strongly correlated with both the antiangiogenic factor (sFlt-1 + sEng): PlGF ratio and high levels of insulin resistance, and combining insulin resistance with antiangiogenic factor ratios further strengthened this relationship. In pregnancy, microvascular blood flow is strongly associated with perturbations in pro- and antiangiogenic mediators. In preeclampsia, the relationship of maternal microvascular dysfunction with antiangiogenic mediators is strengthened when combined with insulin resistance.

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