Endothelial progenitor cells in mothers of low birthweight infants : a link between defective placentation and increased cardiovascular risk.
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This study tested the hypothesis that endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) pathology provides a unifying explanation for the tendency to carry low birthweight babies and subsequent increased maternal cardiovascular risk.
We measured maternal EPC number and function, conventional cardiovascular risk markers, and cord blood adiponectin in 23 small for gestational age (SGA; birthweightcentile) and 23 appropriate for gestational age (AGA; birthweight >10th centile) pregnancies.
Median EPC count was lower (294 vs. 367, p=0.005), and EPC migratory capability was reduced (migration index 0.91 vs. 1.59, p
Giving birth to a SGA infant was associated with lower maternal EPC number and reduced migratory function in vitro. EPC pathology may explain both uteroplacental insufficiency, leading to low birthweight, and future cardiovascular disease in the mother. SGA infants had lower cord blood adiponectin, potentially representing a mechanism for future cardiovascular disease in later life of the infant.