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Longitudinal measurement of cytokines in pre-eclamptic and normotensive pregnancies


Camilla Kronborg, Department of Oncology, Århus University Hospital, 8000 Århus, Denmark. E-mail:

Conflict of interest
The authors have stated explicitly that there are no conflicts of interest in connection with this article.


Objective. To evaluate differences in plasma cytokine levels longitudinally in pre-eclamptic and normotensive pregnancies. An increased inflammatory response has long been associated with pre-eclampsia, both early and late in the pre-eclamptic pregnancy. Design. Blood samples were collected longitudinally during pregnancy from a cohort of 1 631 pregnant women. Thirty-two women with pre-eclampsia and 67 normotensive pregnant women were identified from the cohort. Setting. A Danish regional hospital. Samples. Samples were collected from the 18th week of pregnancy until delivery and divided into the following four gestational intervals: <25th week, 26th–29th week, 30th–35th week and >36th week. Methods. Simultaneous measurement of all nine cytokines was done using a capture bead system. Main Outcome Measures. Plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor during pre-eclamptic and normotensive pregnancies. Results. Pre-eclampsia was associated with increased tumor necrosis factor-α between the 26th and 29th week (p=0.0421) and increased IL-6 after the 36th week (p=0.0044). The other cytokines measured were comparable in the two groups. Conclusions. This large prospective collection of blood samples was undertaken to determine inflammatory status during pre-eclamptic and normotensive pregnancies. Our results support a tendency towards increased inflammation in pre-eclampsia, but the measured cytokines are not eligible for prediction, monitoring or diagnosing pre-eclampsia.