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Changes in serum levels of heat shock protein 70 in preterm delivery and pre-eclampsia


Reprint request to: Dr Akimune Fukushima, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Iwate Medical University, 19-1 Uchimaru, Morioka, Iwate 020-8505, Japan. Email:


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate heat-shock protein (Hsp)70 as a novel marker to evaluate the curative effects of treatment for preterm delivery high-risk patients and pre-eclampsia.

Methods: After obtaining informed consent, serum samples were collected from 31 preterm delivery high-risk patients with a tocolysis index of three points or above (A), seven pre-eclampsia patients (P), 46 normal pregnant women (B), and seven non-pregnant women (C). Of the 31 preterm delivery high-risk patients, 15 had preterm delivery (Ap) and 16 had full-term delivery (Af ). The levels of Hsp70 were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: The Hsp70 levels in normal pregnant women were 8.6 ± 1.9 ng/mL (first trimester), 5.5 ± 1.0 ng/mL (second trimester) and 5.5 ± 0.7 ng/mL (third trimester). There was no statistical difference in the Hsp70 levels between the three trimesters. The mean Hsp70 levels were 21.9 ± 5.3 ng/mL (A), 35.3 ± 9.6 ng/mL (Ap), 9.4 ± 2.2 ng/mL (Af), 24.4 ± 3.6 ng/mL (P), 6.1 ± 0.6 ng/mL (B), and 2.4 ± 0.6 ng/mL (C). Group Ap had significantly higher Hsp70 levels than group Af (P = 0.0112) and group B (P < 0.0001). The duration of pregnancy after hospitalization for group Ap was significantly shorter than that for group Af (P = 0.0088) and group B (P < 0.0001). Group P also had significantly higher Hsp70 levels than group B (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Because Hsp70 levels were particularly high in treatment-resistant preterm delivery cases, Hsp70 may prove to be a useful marker for evaluating the curative effects of treatment for preterm delivery.