The hemoglobin degradation pathway in patients with preeclampsia - Fetal hemoglobin, heme, heme oxygenase-1 and hemopexin - Potential diagnostic biomarkers?

Ulrik Dolberg Anderson, Maya Jälmby, Marijke M Faas, Stefan R Hansson

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6 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate how maternal cell-free fetal hemoglobin and heme impact the scavenger enzyme systems Hemopexin and Heme Oxygenase-1 in patients with preeclampsia (PE). The secondary aims were to evaluate these proteins as biomarkers for severity of the clinical manifestation i.e. hypertension, in early- and late onset PE.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Plasma samples taken within the last 24 h before delivery from 135 patients were analyzed, 89 PE and 46 normal pregnancies. All samples were analyzed for cell-free fetal hemoglobin (HbF), heme, hemopexin enzymatic activity (Hx activity), hemopexin concentration (Hx), and heme oxygenase 1 concentration (HO-1). Logistic regression analysis with ROC-curve analysis was performed to evaluate the possible use as biomarkers for preeclampsia.

RESULTS: There were significantly higher levels of HbF (p = 0.01) and heme (0.01) but significantly lower Hx activity (p = 0.02), Hx (p < 0.0001) and HO-1 (p = 0.03) in PE plasma as compared to plasma of normal pregnancies. The Hx activity was significantly inversely correlated (p = 0.04) to the diastolic blood pressure. The HO-1 concentration was significantly inversely correlated to both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.01 and p = 0.003). ROC-curve analysis showed a combined detection rate for these biomarkers of 84% at 10% false positive rate.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased maternal plasma levels of heme and HbF in PE are associated with decreased HO-1 and hemopexin protein levels as well as reduced hemopexin activity. By measuring the consumption of the scavenger protein Hx, and the proteins in the Hb degradation system, clinical information about the dynamics of the disease can be obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalPregnancy Hypertension
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2018


  • Journal Article

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