Proper placental development is crucial to establish a successful pregnancy. Defective placentation is the major cause of several pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia (PE). We have previously demonstrated that the secreted factor Epidermal Growth Factor-like Domain 7 (EGFL7) is expressed in trophoblast cells of the human placenta and that it regulates trophoblast migration and invasion, suggesting a role in placental development. In the present study, we demonstrate that circulating levels of EGFL7 are undetectable in nonpregnant women, increase during pregnancy and decline toward term. Close to term, circulating levels of EGFL7 are significantly higher in patients affected by PE when compared to normal pregnancies. Consistent with these results, villus explant cultures obtained from placentas affected by PE display increased release of EGFL7 in the culture medium when compared to those from normal placentas. Our results suggest that increased release of placenta-derived EGFL7 and increased circulating levels of EGFL7 are associated with the clinical manifestation of PE.
- epidermal growth like domain-7, preeclampsia