Circulating mRNA for epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 (EGFL7) in maternal blood and early intrauterine growth restriction. A preliminary analysis


  • Funding sources: This work was supported by Ricerca Fondamentale Orientata (RFO) project to A. F. and C. Z.

  • Conflicts of interest: None declared.

Correspondence to: Antonio Farina. E-mail:



To evaluate the alteration in epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 (EGFL7) mRNA expression in maternal blood from pregnancies affected by early-onset intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) at 20–24 weeks.


Case–control study encompassing six women with pregnancies affected by IUGR (cases) matched in a 1 : 7 ratio for gestational age and fetal gender with 42 controls. We quantified EGFL7 mRNA expression in normal and IUGR patients. Matched rank–sum analysis and multiples of median were used to evaluate differences of the marker of interest between cases and controls. Spearman regression analysis was used to correlate the estimated fetal weight at blood sampling with the EGFL7 mRNA values.


The mean observed rank in the IUGR group was significantly higher than that of controls (6.67 vs 4.19, p = 0.01). Pregnancies affected with IUGR exhibited 1.70-fold higher levels of maternal EGFL7 mRNA compared with matched controls (p = 0.014). EGFL7 mRNA values were inversely correlated with estimated fetal weight (Spearman's ρ = −0.429, p = 0.198).


Early IUGR at 20–24 weeks’ gestation is associated with higher values of EGFL7 expression in maternal plasma. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.