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Keywords:

  • Cytotoxicity;
  • fetus;
  • free DNA;
  • HELLP syndrome;
  • pre-eclampsia;
  • pregnancy

Problem:  In pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia or hemolytisis elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP) syndrome, an increase of fetal DNA in the maternal serum indicates an increased lysis of fetal cells. Whether this cytolysis is the cause or the result of an increased specific cytotoxicity against the fetal cells is not yet known.

Methods:  Ten mothers after healthy pregnancy, eight mothers after pregnancy complicated by prematurity (GA < 37 weeks), and eight mothers with pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia or HELLP syndrome and their male children were enrolled in the study. Fetally derived DNA in the maternal serum and the specific anti-fetal cytotoxicity of the maternal lymphocytes were measured.

Results:  Detection of fetal DNA in maternal serum was significantly associated with pre-eclampsia/HELLP syndrome but not with anti-fetal cytotoxicity of the maternal lymphocytes.

Conclusion:  The cytolysis of fetal cells in mothers after pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia/HELLP syndrome is neither the reason for nor the result of an increased specific anti-fetal cytotoxicity.