Angiogenic Factor Profiles in Pregnant Women With a History of Early-Onset Severe Preeclampsia Receiving Low-Molecular-Weight Heparin Prophylaxis

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate whether daily low-molecular-weight (LMW) heparin prophylaxis during pregnancy alters profile of circulating angiogenic factors that have been linked with the pathogenesis of preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction.

METHODS:

This is a planned ancillary study of the Heparin-Preeclampsia trial, a randomized trial in pregnant women with a history of severe early-onset preeclampsia (less than 34 weeks of gestation). In the parent study, all women were treated with aspirin and then randomized to receive LMW heparin or aspirin alone. In this study, we measured serum levels of circulating angiogenic factors (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1, placental growth factor, and soluble endoglin by immunoassay) at the following gestational windows: 10–13 6/7 weeks, 14–17 6/7 weeks, 18–21 6/7 weeks, 22–25 6/7 weeks, 26–29 6/7 weeks, 30–33 6/7 weeks, and 34–37 6/7 weeks.

RESULTS:

Samples were available from 185 patients: LMW heparin+aspirin (n=92) and aspirin alone (n=93). The two groups had comparable baseline characteristics and had similar adverse composite outcomes (35/92 [38.0%] compared with 36/93 [38.7%]; P=.92). There were no significant differences in serum levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1, placental growth factor, and soluble endoglin in the participants who received LMW heparin and aspirin compared with those who received aspirin alone regardless of gestational age period. Finally, women who developed an adverse composite outcome at less than 34 weeks of gestation demonstrated significant alterations in serum angiogenic profile as early as 10–13 6/7 weeks that was most dramatic 6–8 weeks preceding delivery.

CONCLUSION:

Prophylactic LMW heparin therapy when beginning from before 14 weeks of gestation with aspirin during pregnancy is not associated with an improved angiogenic profile. This may provide a molecular explanation for the lack of clinical benefit noted in recent trials.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00986765.

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