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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether circulating markers of oxidative stress are elevated in pre-eclampsia when appropriate precautions are taken to prevent in vitro oxidation DESIGN: A prospective study. SETTING: Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oxford and The William Harvey Institute, London. SAMPLE: Three groups of women: those with pre-eclampsia (n = 19), control pregnant women (n = 19) matched for gestation, age and parity and a group of non pregnant individuals of reproductive age (n = 7). METHODS: Citrated plasma was stored at -80 degrees C with 20 micromol beta hydroxytoluene to prevent auto-oxidation. Plasma samples were assayed for levels of 8 epi-prostaglandin F2alpha, lipid hydroperoxides, malondialdehyde and also the lipid soluble antioxidant vitamin E. RESULTS: There were no differences in 8 epi-prostaglandin F2alpha, lipid peroxide or malondialdehyde levels between the groups of women with pre-eclampsia and those acting as pregnant controls. However, lipid hydroperoxides and malondialdehyde were significantly raised in both pre-eclampsia and normal pregnancy, compared with nonpregnant women. Vitamin E levels were similar in women with pre-eclampsia and those with a normal pregnancy, but in both groups levels were significantly higher than in nonpregnant women. CONCLUSION: Circulating markers of oxidative stress are raised in normal pregnancy and pre-eclampsia.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Obstet Gynaecol

Publication Date





1195 - 1199


Adult, Biomarkers, Dinoprost, Female, Humans, Lipid Peroxides, Malondialdehyde, Oxidative Stress, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular, Prospective Studies, Vitamin E