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Placental growth factor (PIGF) is a potent angiogenic factor that impacts early placental vascular development. It was our aim to clarify relationships between PIGF and first trimester maternal/placental factors that are related to placental development.
Prospectively enrolled patients at 11-14 weeks had serum PIGF measurement by ELISA. Results were related to maternal age, parity, race, body mass index (BMI), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), smoking/caffeine use and parameters of placental blood flow resistance.
In 111 consecutive patients PIGF levels ranged between 1.0-176.1 picogram/ml showing a linear relationship with gestational age (PIGF= 1.4251GA - 74.951, R2 =0.0765, F 8.941, p=0.003 figure). PIGF did not relate to maternal demographics but negatively correlated with MAP (Pearsons=-0.191, p<0.05). Bilateral uterine artery notching was associated with lower PIGF (40.7 pg/ml (1.01-131.6) vs 51.1 pg/ml (6.4-170.1; Mann Whitney p<0.05.). A trend to lower levels was also observed when umbilical artery end-diastolic flow was absent (37.1 pg/ml (6.8-95) vs. 49.3 pg/ml (1.01-176.6; p=0.05).
Placental growth factor in the first trimester is related to maternal cardiovascular factors and placental Doppler findings that are associated with subsequent placental dysfunction. The utility of this parameter as a first trimester screening tool merits further investigation.