Master Theses UMCG - University of Groningen
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Free thiols in maternal serum and urine for detection of fetal growth restriction

(2017) Sissingh, N.J.

Background: Oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of pregnancy complications as fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preeclampsia (PE) The level of oxidative stress can be determined by measuring free thiols, as they readily oxidize when exposed to reactive species. As the diagnostic criteria of FGR remain uncertain due to the scarcity of accurate biomarkers, the aim of this study is to assess the utility of serum and urinary free thiols to come to a non-invasive biomarker for FGR.
Methods: Free thiols were detected in patients from two case-control cohorts. In the first cohort, serum, 24-hour urine and first morning urine were derived from nine patients with FGR, eleven patients with FGR+PE, four patients with SGA and fourteen patients with a healthy grown fetus. In the second cohort, we included serum samples from ten PE patients with no FGR and fourteen matched controls. The concentrations of free thiols (μM) were determined using the Ellman’s method.
Results: The main result was that we found significantly lower concentration of serum free thiols in patients with FGR+PE as well in PE patients with no FGR, when compared to healthy controls (p=0.001, p=0.000). Patients with solely FGR had no significant depletion (p=1.000). Moreover, no significant differences were demonstrated in 24-hour urine (p=0.128) and first morning urine (p=0.481) among all groups.
Conclusion: This pilot study observed an association between PE, irrespective the presence of FGR, and lower levels of serum free thiols. This finding merits further investigations in larger cohorts, in which we recommend serum samples as the best representative. As free thiols were not aberrant in FGR, the search for early predictive biomarkers must continue.

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