Objective: To investigate whether serum and amniotic fluid (AF) levels of soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors and interleukin-6, markers of immune activation and endothelial dysfunction, are altered in patients with severe preeclampsia. Methods: Plasma was collected before induction of labor, at delivery, and postpartum from 19 patients with severe preeclampsia. Amniotic fluid was also obtained in early labor from these patients. Similar samples were obtained from an antepartum control group matched for gestational age and a term control group without preeclampsia. All plasma and AF samples were assayed for p55 and p75 soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors and for interleukin-6 by specific enzyme-linked immunoassays. Levels in preeclamptic patients and the control groups were compared. Results: Levels of both receptors were significantly elevated in AF and all maternal plasma samples except those collected 24 hours postpartum for patients with preeclampsia relative to levels in controls. Interleukin-6 was detected more frequently and in higher concentrations in the plasma collected before labor for preeclamptic patients compared with controls, but no difference was noted in interleukin-6 detection rates or plasma concentrations at delivery. Conversely, AF concentrations of interleukin-6 were significantly reduced in patients with preeclampsia. Conclusion: The increased levels of soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors found in patients with severe preeclampsia may represent a protective response to increased tumor necrosis factor activity and be a marker for immune activation. Increased interleukin-6 concentrations in maternal plasma before labor suggest the involvement of this cytokine as well in the altered immune response and its contribution to endothelial cell dysfunction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology