Altered plasma neurokinin B levels in patients with pre-eclampsia
Objective(s): This study determines the levels of Neurokinin B (NKB) in the plasma of South African coloured pregnant women with and without pre-eclampsia (PE) and correlates these results with clinical data. Additionally, the peptide radioimmunoassay (RIA) and peptide enzyme immunoassay (EIA) methods were compared in the determination of the Neurokinin B levels, using 58 samples from patients with PE. Methods: At the Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, SA, 43 pregnant women with PE and 62 healthy pregnant women were recruited, and clinical data were gathered using questionnaires; 58 patient samples were tested by both RIA and EIA. Results: The comparison of RIA and EIA revealed an r-value of 0.904. The mean NKB concentration in the PE group (23.5 ng/l) was significantly higher than in the control group (3.8 ng/l). Within the PE cohort, two NKB subgroups could be discerned: those with levels <30 ng/l and those with levels >30 ng/l. Conclusion(s): This study, carried out within a distinct population, confirms previous reports of elevated NKB levels in the plasma of pre-eclamptic women in the third trimester, and established the suitability of EIA for determining NKB levels. Whether the altered NKB levels are causative or merely associated with PE still remains to be determined. The split in the two NKB groups (high and low values) needs further evaluation, as does whether NKB could be used as a screening test or as a predictive factor. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.