Serum levels of the adipokine visfatin are increased in pre-eclampsia


Mathias Fasshauer, Ph.-Rosenthal-Str. 27, 04103 Leipzig, Germany. Tel.: +49 341 9713318; Fax: +49 341 9713389; E-mail:


Objective  Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a serious cardiovascular complication in pregnancy which shares risk factors with the metabolic syndrome including insulin resistance and obesity. Recently, visfatin was introduced as a novel insulin-mimetic adipokine which is up-regulated when weight is gained. In the current study, we investigated visfatin serum levels in pre-eclamptic patients as compared to healthy gestational age-matched controls.

Patients and measurements  Visfatin was quantified by ELISA in control (n = 20) and PE (n = 15) patients. Furthermore, visfatin was correlated to clinical and biochemical measures of renal function, glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as inflammation.

Results  Mean maternal visfatin serum levels adjusted for maternal age were about twofold up-regulated in PE (31·1 ± 23·4 µg/l) as compared to controls (15·7 ± 23·1 µg/l). Furthermore, visfatin concentrations correlated positively with age, blood pressure, creatinine, free fatty acids (FFA), IL-6 and C reactive protein (CRP), whereas a negative correlation was found with fasting insulin and the HOMA-insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR). In multivariate analyses, HOMA-IR and CRP remained independently associated with visfatin serum levels and explained 58% of the variation in visfatin concentrations.

Conclusions  We show that maternal visfatin levels are significantly increased in PE patients. Furthermore, insulin sensitivity and inflammatory status independently predict serum visfatin levels.