Researchers identify 2 additional early-pregnancy biomarkers in preeclampsia patients

First trimester serum biomarker discovery study for early onset, preterm onset and preeclampsia at term

More and more tests are being developed to help predict if somebody will go on to develop preeclampsia. Researchers creating these tests want them to be accurate in order to affect patient care. In this research study, researchers took blood samples in early pregnancy (11-14 weeks gestation) from patients. They then looked at what points in pregnancy the patients developed preeclampsia (or not at all). Researchers analyzed blood samples from twenty-three individuals without preeclampsia, nine individuals with preeclampsia onset before 34 weeks of pregnancy, eight individuals with preeclampsia onset between 34-37 weeks, and six individuals with preeclampsia onset after 37 weeks. By comparing these four groups, researchers were able to find nine protein biomarkers in early pregnancy that were different in those with preeclampsia compared to those without. They also assessed the differences between patients who experienced early-onset, pre-term onset, and term-onset preeclampsia.

Seven of those nine biomarkers have already been shown to be present in preeclampsia patients through other research studies, but two are new discoveries: Apolipoprotein D (ApoD) and Transforming growth factor-beta-induced protein ig-h3 (TGFBI). This may open new areas of assessment in the future to help determine patients’ risks of early-onset preeclampsia.

Take home message: Biomarkers in a pregnant individuals’ circulation may be different in early pregnancy before the development of preeclampsia symptoms. These results highlight a possibility of being able to predict timing of onset and subtypes of preeclampsia well before preeclampsia is diagnosed. Next steps for this work would be to explore these biomarkers in early pregnancy in a much larger study.


Citation: Beernink RHJ, Zwertbroek EF, Schuitemaker JHN, Cremers TIFH, Scherjon SA. First trimester serum biomarker discovery study for early onset, preterm onset and preeclampsia at term. Placenta. 2022 Aug 27;128:39-48. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2022.08.010. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36058050.

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Each quarter, our team of researchers reviews the most current studies related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and selects those studies they feel will be of greatest interest to our community to summarize.

Special thanks to our volunteer research team, who under the leadership of Dr. Elizabeth Sutton, make Research Roundup possible: Alisse Hauspurg, MD Felicia LeMoine, and MD Jenny Sones, PhD, DVM.

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