Levels of circulating endothelial cells in normotensive and severe preeclamptic pregnancies
Redirect to Publisher's version
(Publisher's version.url.txt, 38 bytes)
Background: Preeclampsia is a disease hypothesized to originate from widespread endothelial dysfunction or damage. This study investigated whether circulating endothelial cells (CEC) can serve as a surrogate marker for disease severity in patients with preeclampsia, and if their number correlates to serum endothelial biomarkers for activation, dysfunction, or damage of those cells. Methods: Blood was drawn consecutively from 30 patients admitted with a diagnosis of severe preeclampsia. Thirty healthy, normotensive, patients matched for age, body mass index, and gestational age served as a control group. We determined the number of CEC and serum concentrations of biomarkers indicative of endothelial damage (thrombomodulin) and activation (E-selectin), and the antiangiogenic protein (endoglin), which reflects endothelial dysfunction. Results: Median CEC counts did not differ significantly between preeclamptic patients and the control group (median 5.3 vs. 3.5 CEC/mL, respectively) and were mostly within the normal range (i.e., <20 CEC/mL). However, serum concentrations of thrombomodulin (median 3.6 vs. 5.2 ng/mL; P = 0.006), E-selectin (median 32.0 vs. 42.9 ng/mL; P = 0.02), and especially endoglin (median 5.0 vs. 76.2 ng/mL; P < 0.0001) were significantly increased in severe preeclamptic patients. CEC counts did not correlate with any of the clinical parameters or routinely determined laboratory indices. Conclusion: Preeclampsia is characterized by endothelial dysfunction and activation rather than actual endothelial damage as characterized by increased CEC counts.