November 30th, 2015

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Assessment of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor, and Transforming Growth Factor Levels in Amniotic Fluid
Authors:  M. A. Bedaiwy, M.D., Ph.D., J. M. Burlingame, M.D., M. Hussein, M.D., R. Flyckt, M.D., R. Assad, M.D., and T. Falcone, M.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To measure amniotic fluid levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and transforming growth factor (TGF)-b2 and to characterize their levels with respect to advancing gestational age and pregnancy-related complications.

STUDY DESIGN: Amniotic fluid was collected from a total of 37 patients, 2 of whom had twin pregnancies. Twenty-seven specimens were collected in the second trimester and 10 specimens were collected in the third trimester. VEGF, bFGF and TGF-b2 were isolated from centrifuged amniotic fluid and quantified using commercially available ELISA kits. Concentrations of growth factors were expressed in pg/mL.

RESULTS: The growth factors under investigation were present in most but not all amniotic fluid specimens throughout pregnancy. The levels of VEGF, bFGF and TGF-b2 were inconsistent and did not show a statistically significant association with gestational age, number of fetuses, or the presence of hypertension and/or diabetes. One significant finding emerged from the data: smokers had significantly higher amniotic fluid levels of VEGF compared to nonsmokers (p=0.03).

CONCLUSION: VEGF, bFGF and TGF-b2 are detectable in second and third trimester amniotic fluid. Smoking appears to correlate with increased amniotic fluid VEGF during pregnancy. VEGF may represent a molecular marker of hypoxia and is an interesting focus for future investigation.
Keywords:  amniotic fluid, smoking, vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF
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