Third trimester plasma neurokinin B levels in women with and without preeclampsia
Objective. This study was undertaken to measure neurokinin B (NKB) levels in pregnant women with and without preeclampsia (PE) in the third trimester. The study focused on the Black (sub-Saharan ancestry) and 'mixed ancestry' (synonymous with 'colored' and denotes an established race group of Khoisan, European, Malay, Malagascan, African, and South Indian ancestry) populations, constituting the majority of inhabitants of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Methods. Questionnaires were used to obtain clinical data from pregnant 'mixed ancestry' and Black women. Third trimester plasma NKB levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique (EIA) in 72 pregnant women with PE and in 94 healthy women. The EIA results were then correlated with clinical data. Results. The mean NKB concentration in the PE groups (23.5 ng/L for 'mixed ancestry' and 15.0 ng/L for Black women) was significantly higher than in the control groups (3.8 ng/L and 4.4 ng/L, respectively; p ≤ 0.001). No significant differences in maternal clinical data were found between the diseased groups. Conclusions. Using the EIA technique, this study confirms previous reports of elevated NKB levels in the plasma of PE women in the third trimester. Whether increased NKB levels are causative or merely associated with PE remains unknown, as do the causative molecular mechanisms. Future longitudinal studies are certainly needed to further elucidate the predictive value of NKB in PE. © 2008 Informa UK Ltd.