RASSF1Ain maternal plasma as a molecular marker of preeclampsia

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This study aimed to quantitate cell free (cf) and cell free fetal (cff) DNA in maternal plasma by determining RASSF1A levels before and after enzyme digestion in women who subsequently developed preeclampsia (PE) and compare them with uncomplicated pregnancies.


Twenty-four samples from pregnant women who developed PE and 48 samples from women with uncomplicated pregnancies were analysed. Blood samples were obtained at 11–13 weeks. cfDNA was determined by quantifying RASSF1A using qRT-PCR. A second qRT-PCR was performed following methylation-sensitive enzyme digestion by BstUI, to quantitate hypermethylated RASSF1A sequences of fetal origin. ACTB gene was used as control to confirm complete enzyme digestion.


cfDNA and cffDNA levels were significantly increased in women who developed PE as compared with uncomplicated pregnancies (median cfDNA: 9402 vs 2698, median cffDNA: 934.5 vs 62, respectively). Following operating characteristic curve analysis, cut-off values of 7486 Eq/mL for cfDNA and 512 Eq/mL for cffDNA were chosen, which provided a sensitivity of 75% and 100% and specificity of 98% and 100%, respectively, to identify women at risk for PE.


The study demonstrates potential use of cfDNA and cffDNA in maternal plasma as markers for the early prediction of women at risk for PE. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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