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Hofmann-Kiefer, Klaus F.; Knabl, Julia; Martinoff, Nadja; Schiessl, B.; Conzen, Peter; Rehm, M.; Becker, B. F. und Chappell, Daniel (März 2013): Increased Serum Concentrations of Circulating Glycocalyx Components in HELLP Syndrome Compared to Healthy Pregnancy: An Observational Study. In: Reproductive Sciences, Vol. 20, Nr. 3: S. 318-325


Severe inflammation has been shown to induce a shedding of the endothelial glycocalyx (EGX). Inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), impede the thickness of the EGX. While a controlled inflammatory reaction occurs already in normal pregnancy, women with hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (HELLP) syndrome had an exaggerated inflammatory response. This study investigates the shedding of the glycocalyx during normal pregnancy and in women with HELLP syndrome. Glycocalyx components (syndecan 1, heparan sulfate, and hyaluronic acid) were measured in serum of healthy women throughout pregnancy (4 time points, n = 26), in women with HELLP syndrome (n = 17) before delivery and in nonpregnant volunteers (n = 10). Serum concentrations of TNF-alpha and soluble TNF-alpha receptors (sTNF-Rs) were assessed once in all 3 groups. Syndecan 1 serum concentrations constantly rose throughout normal pregnancy. Immediately before delivery, a 159-fold increase was measured compared to nonpregnant controls (P < .01). Even higher amounts were observed in patients with HELLP prior to delivery (median 12 252 ng/mL) compared to healthy women matched by gestational age (median 5943 ng/mL; P < .01). Relevantly, increased serum levels of heparan sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and sTNF-Rs were only detected in patients with HELLP (P < .01). These findings suggest that considerable amounts of syndecan 1 are released into maternal blood during uncomplicated pregnancy. The HELLP syndrome is associated with an even more pronounced shedding of glycocalyx components. The maternal vasculature as well as the placenta has to be discussed as a possible origin of circulating glycocalyx components.