Despite progress in immunobiology, pre-eclampsia (PE) remains one of the most common reasons for women to die during pregnancy. The widespread pathophysiological mechanisms are endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and inflammation. The aim of this study was to assess the alteration in the levels of leptin, interleukin (IL)-10 and inflammatory cytokines [tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-6 & IL-8] in pre-eclamptic (severe and mild), healthy pregnant and non-pregnant women and correlate these parameters with disease severity.
Method of study
The levels of leptin, IL-10 and inflammatory cytokines were measured by high sensitivity enzyme-linked immunoabsorbant assay. The study subjects were 54 pre-eclamptic women (ten severe and 45 milder), compared by age matched 50 healthy pregnant and 27 non-pregnant women. Kruskal–Wallis non-parametric analyses of variance followed by Mann–Whitney U-test were used for statistical analysis.
The levels of leptin, TNF-α, IL-6 & IL-8 in pre-eclamptic subjects were increased significantly when compared with the healthy control pregnant and non-pregnant (P < 0.000). The concentration of IL-10 has shown different pattern as its level decreased significantly (0.001) in pre-eclamptic women (overall) in comparison with control subjects (pregnant & non-pregnant). A combination of 80% or higher sensitivity and specificity was seen in the parameters analysed, except IL-8 and IL-10.
Our findings suggest a relationship among TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and leptin and indicate that altered levels of above markers in PE might be used as markers of pro-inflammation/anti-inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in pre-eclamptic pregnancies. These results also advocate the abnormal leptin and cytokine responses in mother, which might be involved in the pathogenesis of PE.