Pregnancy loss affects approximately 20% of couples. The lack of a clear cause complicates half of all miscarriages. Early evidence indicates the maternal immune system and angiogenesis regulation are both key players in implantation success or failure. Therefore, this prospective study recruited women in the first trimester with known viable intrauterine pregnancy and measured blood levels of immune tolerance proteins galectin-9 (Gal-9) and interleukin (IL)-4, and angiogenesis proteins (vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) A, C, and D) between 5 and 9 weeks gestation. Plasma concentrations were compared between groups defined based on (a) pregnancy outcome and (b) maternal history of miscarriage, respectively. In total, 56 women were recruited with 10 experiencing a miscarriage or pregnancy loss in the 2nd or 3rd trimester and 11 having a maternal history or miscarriage. VEGF-C was significantly lower among women with a miscarriage or pregnancy loss. Gal-9 and VEGF-A concentrations were decreased in women with a prior miscarriage. Identification of early changes in maternal immune and angiogenic factors during pregnancy may be a tool to improve patient counseling on pregnancy loss risk and future interventions to reduce miscarriage in a subset of women.
- Pregnancy loss
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
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