A condition called massive perivillous fibrin deposition (MPFD) in pregnant women is associated with serious pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, fetal growth restriction, and fetal death. Angiogenesis, or the development of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels, is important for normal fetal growth and development. Proteins in the body help stimulate and control angiogenesis during pregnancy. These proteins are called angiogenic factors if they increase new blood vessel growth and anti-angiogenic factors if they prevent new blood vessel growth.
A balance between angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors is critical for a successful pregnancy and normal fetal development. An imbalance in these factors has been seen in women with other types of pregnancy complications, and scientists were interested in whether such imbalances could also be related to MPFD.
Researchers in the Program in Perinatal Research and Obstetrics within the Division of Intramural Research and their colleagues conducted a study of MPFD patients to assess whether there were changes in angiogenesis with MPFD. The researchers measured the levels of several angiogenic and anti-angiogenic proteins in the blood of women before they had been diagnosed.
The concentrations of some of these proteins were different in patients who developed MPFD compared to women without the condition. Overall, the findings indicated that changes in the levels of angiogenic and antiangiogenic proteins can precede the onset of MPFD (PMID: 23333548).