Serum levels of the adipokine fibroblast growth factor-21 are increased in preeclampsia
Objective: Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-21 was recently introduced as a novel adipokine improving glucose metabolism in vitro and in vivo. In the current study, we investigated circulating FGF-21 in preeclampsia (PE), which represents a serious cardiovascular complication in pregnancy and is, therefore, associated with an increased future metabolic and cardiovascular risk for mother and newborn.
Material and methods: Maternal serum levels of FGF-21 were determined in patients with PE (n = 51) as compared to healthy, age-matched controls (n = 51) during and 6 months after pregnancy using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Furthermore, association of FGF-21 with markers of renal function, glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as inflammation, was elucidated in all individuals.
Results: Median maternal FGF-21 serum concentrations adjusted for body mass index and gestational age at blood sampling were significantly, almost 3-fold increased in PE patients (309,6 ng/l) as compared to healthy, age-matched pregnant women (105,2 ng/l) (p < 0,001). Furthermore, FGF-21 concentrations were independently and positively correlated with triglycerides whereas an independent and negative association was observed with glomerular filtration rate and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in pregnant women. Moreover, FGF-21 serum levels significantly decreased in former PE patients 6 months after pregnancy approaching levels found in control patients.
Conclusions: Maternal FGF-21 serum concentrations are significantly increased in PE during pregnancy. However, this difference is not observable six months after pregnancy. Therefore, the physiological relevance and the underlying mechanisms of this regulation need to be assessed in future studies.