Maternal Serum B-Cell Activating Factor Levels
Candidate Early Biomarker for Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Early suppression of B-cell lymphopoiesis is necessary for a normal pregnancy. Dysregulation of factors critical to B-cell survival may result in pregnancy complications, including hypertension. In this prospective observational study at a single medical center, serum levels of BAFF (B-cell activating factor) were measured in pregnant participants at each trimester, at delivery, and postpartum and in nonpregnant controls at a single time point. Comparisons were made between nonpregnant and pregnant subjects and between time periods of pregnancy. First-trimester serum BAFF levels were further tested for association with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The study included 149 healthy pregnant women, 25 pregnant women with chronic hypertension, and 48 nonpregnant controls. Median first-trimester serum BAFF level (ng/mL) for healthy women (0.90) was lower than median serum BAFF levels for women with chronic hypertension (0.96; P=0.013) and controls (1.00; P=0.002). Serum BAFF levels steadily declined throughout pregnancy, with the median second-trimester level lower than the corresponding first-trimester level (0.77; P=0.003) and the median third-trimester level lower than the corresponding second-trimester level (0.72; P=0.025). The median first-trimester serum BAFF level was elevated in women who subsequently developed hypertension compared with women who remained normotensive (1.02 versus 0.85; P=0.012), with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve being 0.709. First-trimester serum BAFF level may be an early and clinically useful predictor of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
- Received May 24, 2017.
- Revision received June 7, 2017.
- Accepted July 24, 2017.
- © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.