Flow mediated vasodilation and circulating concentrations of high sensitive C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α in normal pregnancy – The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study
Article first published online: 1 JUN 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Scandinavian Society of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine
Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
Volume 29, Issue 5, pages 347–352, September 2009
How to Cite
Saarelainen, H., Valtonen, P., Punnonen, K., Laitinen, T., Raitakari, O. T., Juonala, M., Heiskanen, N., Lyyra-Laitinen, T., Viikari, J. S. A. and Heinonen, S. (2009), Flow mediated vasodilation and circulating concentrations of high sensitive C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α in normal pregnancy – The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, 29: 347–352. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2009.00877.x
- Issue published online: 13 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 1 JUN 2009
- Accepted for publication Received 23 September 2008; accepted 6 April 2009
- endothelial function;
- flow mediated vasodilation;
- high sensitive C-reactive protein;
- tumor necrosis factor-α
Background: Traditional risk factors such as hyperlipidemia induce a state of inflammation that impairs vascular function. Despite marked maternal hyperlipidemia, endothelial function improves during pregnancy. In non-pregnant state increased circulating levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) lead to attenuated flow mediated vasodilation. Relation between endothelial function and pro-inflammatory cytokines has not been studied thoroughly in pregnancy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of pregnancy on hsCRP and pro-inflammatory cytokines and their associations with vascular endothelial function.
Methods: As part of population-based, prospective cohort Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study conducted in Finland we measured brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) and serum concentrations of hsCRP, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in 57 pregnant Finnish women throughout gestation and 62 control women matched for age and smoking.
Results: HsCRP-concentration was greater in pregnancy compared to non-pregnant controls (median hsCRP 2·52 mg l−1 versus 1·21 mg l−1, P<0·001). IL-6-concentration was slightly increased in pregnancy compared with the non-pregnant controls (median 1·66 versus 1·32 mg l−1, non-significant [NS]) and TNF-α-concentration was slightly decreased in pregnant group (2·11 versus 2·38 pg ml−1, NS). FMD increased during pregnancy and IL-6 had a positive correlation to the FMD in pregnancy (R = 0·288, P = 0·031).
Conclusions: Improvement of FMD in normal pregnancy was not affected by increase in hsCRP concentration. We found an association with IL-6 and FMD but we believe that improvement in endothelial function during normal pregnancy is not caused by variation in hsCRP, IL-6 or TNF-α.