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GAZZETTA MEDICA ITALIANA ARCHIVIO PER LE SCIENZE MEDICHE
A Journal on Internal Medicine and Pharmacology
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2005 June;164(3):179-86
Increased nitrate serum levels in women with pre-eclampsia
Mainini G. 1, Scaffa C. 1, Quirino L. 1, Torella M. 1, Lizza R. 2, di Grazia F. 2, De Franciscis P. 1
1 Dipartimento di Scienze Ginecologiche, Ostetriche e della Riproduzione, Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, Napoli;
2 Divisione di Ginecologia ed Ostetricia, Ospedale Civile di Aversa, Caserta
Aim. The maternal pre-eclampsia syndrome is characterised by hypertension, proteinuria, oedema and clotting and liver and renal function anomalies. These symptoms may all be explained by a general dysfunction of the endothelial cells and this dysfunction may cause hypertension by means of a reduced release of vasodilator agents such as nitrogen oxide. Its reduced production could therefore play a part in the physiopathology of pre-eclampsia. Inorganic nitrate is the stable final metabolite of nitrogen oxide and may be measured in the serum as an index of the production of this oxide.
Methods. The groups studied consist of women with pre-eclampsia (20), a control group of normal comparable pregnant women (20) and non-pregnant women in reproductive age (12).
Results. Age (30, range 21-41), gestational age (229 days, range 1342-280) and the percentage of nulliparas (60%) were equal for women with pre-eclampsia and for the physiological pregnancy controls. Twelve women in each group (60%) were nulliparas. The average age of the non-pregnant women was 29.4 years (range 22-37) and 58% of them were nulliparas. The serum concentrations of nitrate were significantly increased in women with pre-eclampsia compared to the healthy pregnant women and the non-pregnant controls. No significant differences were evidenced between serum levels of nitrate in the nulliparas and levels in the pluriparas.
Conclusions. The serum levels of nitrate were significantly higher in women with pre-eclampsia compared to the healthy pregnant controls. This fact could have a variety of explanations. The provisional conclusion is that the data from this study go against the hypothesis of a reduced synthesis of nitrogen oxide on the part of malfunctioning endothelial cells as the main mechanism of vasoconstriction in pre-eclampsia.