Am J Reprod Immunol. 2022 Nov 18. doi: 10.1111/aji.13654. Online ahead of print.
PROBLEM: Dysregulation of factors vital to the survival B cells and/or plasma cells, such as BAFF and APRIL, could be detrimental to a pregnancy.
METHOD OF STUDY: Serially collected first-, second-, and third-trimester serum samples were measured for BAFF and APRIL by ELISA from 150 pregnant women (71 healthy + 79 with a chronic medical disease) at a single medical center. Postpartum serum samples were also collected from the majority of these women. Matched third-trimester and cord blood samples were collected from 168 women (86 healthy + 82 with a chronic medical disease). Data were analyzed by chi-square statistic, unpaired t test, paired t test, Mann-Whitney rank sum test, Wilcoxon signed rank test, Spearman rank order correlation, and receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve analyses as appropriate.
RESULTS: Maternal serum BAFF levels declined as the pregnancies progressed and rebounded postpartum, whereas serum APRIL levels remained relatively flat throughout pregnancy and postpartum. Cord BAFF and APRIL levels correlated positively with gestation age and were considerably greater than the corresponding maternal third-trimester serum BAFF and APRIL levels, respectively. In women who developed preeclampsia, third-trimester BAFF levels were greater, rather than lower, than their corresponding second-trimester BAFF levels. ROC curve analysis suggested a potential role for third-trimester serum BAFF level as a biomarker of preeclampsia.
CONCLUSIONS: BAFF and APRIL are differentially regulated in the mother during and following pregnancy, whereas each is upregulated in the developing fetus. An increase in third-trimester serum BAFF level may portend development of preeclampsia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.