Placental Growth Factor May Be Marker for Pregnancy Location

PIGF reduced in trophoblast cells from tubal ectopic compared with intrauterine pregnancies

FRIDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Placental growth factor (PIGF) may serve as an effective diagnostic biomarker for early pregnancy location and pregnancy outcome, according to a study published online Nov. 3 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Andrew W. Horne, M.D., of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated gestation-matched pregnant women who underwent surgical termination of pregnancy (viable intrauterine), evacuation of uterus for embryonic missed miscarriage (non-viable intrauterine), and surgery for tubal ectopic pregnancy. The purpose of the study was to determine whether tubal implantation occurs through an attenuation of the normal trophoblast PIGF-response and whether serum PIGF levels differ in ectopic and intrauterine pregnancy.

The investigators found that PIGF was limited to cytotrophoblast cells, with expression of PIGF mRNA lower in trophoblast cells isolated from women with ectopic as compared to intrauterine pregnancies. Serum PIGF was undetectable in women with tubal ectopic pregnancies as compared to viable intrauterine pregnancies. In addition, PIGF was reduced, or undetectable, in miscarriage compared to viable intrauterine pregnancies.

"Serum PIGF is a promising novel diagnostic biomarker for early pregnancy location and outcome, and large-scale studies are now required to determine its clinical utility," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed holding a U.K. patent for a diagnostic biomarker for ectopic pregnancy.

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