Context: Adequate thyroid hormone availability during fetal and early life is crucial for normal child growth and development. Fetal growth heavily depends on angiogenesis. Placental growth factor (PlGF) is a proangiogenic factor sharing high homology with vascular endothelial growth factor, whereas soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt1) is a potent antagonist of vascular endothelialgrowth factorandPlGFsignaling.Becausethethyroid isahighly vascularizedorgan,wehypothesizedthat fetal angiogenic factors influence in utero thyrogenesis and impair newborn thyroid function. Therefore, we investigated the association between sFlt1 and PlGF on newborn thyroid function. CopyrightDesign, Setting, and Participants: sFlt1, PlGF, TSH, and free T4 (FT4) were determined in cord serum of 3525 newborns from a large prospective cohort study. Analyses were adjusted for relevant maternal and child covariates.Results: sFlt1 levels were positively associated with TSH (β 0.07±0.02 mU/L; P<.001) and inversely with FT4 (β -0.58 ± 0.11; P < .001). PlGF showed a positive association with FT4 (β 0.19 ± 0.02; P <.001). Elevated levels of sFlt1 were associated with a 2.8-fold increased risk of hypothyroxinemia (P = .04). Decreased levels of PlGF were associated with a 6.7-fold increased risk of hypothyroxinemia (P < .001). Within the normal range, a dose-dependent effect of sFlt1 on thyroid dysfunction was observed: high-normal sFlt1 levels were associated with a 17.7-fold increased risk of hypothyroxinemia (P < .001) and a 2.7-fold increased risk of hyperthyrotropinemia (P = .01).Conclusion: Fetal angiogenic factors sFlt1 and PlGF are associated with newborn thyroid function. Possible effects are most likely mediated through effects on in utero thyrogenesis. Abnormal as well as normal-range fetal sFlt1 and PlGF levels influence the risk of impaired newborn thyroid function, which has been associated with adverse neurodevelopmental effects. These data provide important novel insights into the physiology of thyrogenesis and into the etiology of newborn thyroid (dys)function.,
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Department of Epidemiology

Korevaar, T., Steegers, E., Schalekamp-Timmermans, S., Ligthart, S., de Rijke, Y., Visser, E., … Peeters, R. (2014). Soluble Flt1 and placental growth factor are novel determinants of newborn thyroid (dys)function: The generation R study. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 99(9), E1627–E1634. doi:10.1210/jc.2014-1884