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Altered proteome profiles in maternal plasma in pregnancies with fetal growth restriction


Fetal growth restriction (FGR) affects 3–5% of pregnancies and is associated with increased perinatal morbidity and mortality. Currently, there is no reliable biochemical test to differentiate a pathological FGR from a nonpathological one. The objective of this study was to screen whole maternal plasma to identify differentially expressed relatively abundant proteins associated with FGR. We analyzed maternal plasma from FGR (n=28) and healthy (n=22) pregnancies using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-GE) followed by software image analysis. Three spots with molecular weight (Mr) 18 kDa corresponding to haptoglobin (hp) α2, as identified by LC-MS/MS and immunoblotting, showed differential expression patterns in FGR. The distribution of hp α2 variants in maternal plasma samples showed the hp α2 variant 1 was low in 72% of FGR, medium in 16%, whereas high in 12%. In comparison, hp α2 variant 1 was high in (41%) of controls, medium in 41%, and low in 18% of cases. Based on the software image analysis, the mean spot volume for hp α2 variant 1 was 0.12 (SD=0.18) for FGR compared to 0.26 (SD=0.19) for control (p=0.006). Given that hp turnover is indicative of its maturation process and is traceable in plasma by its dominant/suppressed variants, we propose that hp α2 is an important potential target for evaluation of its clinical and pathophysiological role and as a diagnostic biomarker in FGR.


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Correspondence to Madhulika B. Gupta.

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  • Retinol Binding Protein
  • Fetal Growth Restriction
  • Maternal Plasma
  • HELLP Syndrome
  • Placental Insufficiency