PROBLEM: The study was conducted to determine whether altered plasma levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 are involved in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.
METHOD OF STUDY: Maternal plasma samples were collected from 20 patients with preeclampsia, 20 matched normotensive patients with uncomplicated pregnancies, and ten healthy nonpregnant women. Samples were assayed for soluble VCAM-1 and soluble ICAM-1 by specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
RESULTS: Both soluble VCAM-1 and soluble ICAM-1 were detectable in the plasma of all preeclamptic, normotensive pregnant, and nonpregnant women. The mean plasma level of soluble VCAM-1 was significantly higher in preeclamptic women compared to normotensive pregnant women (1831 ng/mL ± 534 ng/mL vs. 1254 ng/mL ± 386 ng/mL, respectively; P < 0.05). However, the plasma level of soluble VCAM-1 was unchanged during the third-trimester of normal pregnancy compared to nonpregnant women. The mean plasma level of soluble ICAM-1 in preeclamptic and normotensive pregnant women were increased when compared to nonpregnant women. However, the mean plasma level of soluble ICAM-1 was comparable in women with preeclampsia and normotensive pregnancy.
CONCLUSIONS: The selective increased plasma levels of soluble VCAM-1 in patients with preeclampsia provide evidence for endothelial activation and suggest distinct pathways for neutrophil and endothelial activation in preeclampsia.