A joint research effort by scientists from four Russian institutions has led to the development of a non-invasive diagnostic approach for pregnant women with preeclampsia (PE). The team detailed their findings in a recent issue of Journal of Proteomics.
The method is based on detecting specific peptide biomarkers present in 30 urine samples collected from women with normal pregnancy and those with PE.
PE is a disorder affecting some pregnant women and is usually observed in the third trimester of pregnancy. The condition is debilitating to both mother and unborn child and the difficult nature of diagnosing the disease makes monitoring increasingly challenging.
Proteinuria is one of the characterizing symptoms of preeclampsia along with a very high blood pressure. In PE, protein levels are also observed to spike from normal levels of 0.03g/l to a dangerous 0.3g/l and above.
Utilizing this information the researchers speculated whether peptides present in urine samples would provide any information about the disease.
“In the Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology we were able to confirm a number of markers previously proposed by our colleagues abroad, and also identify some new ones. We will obviously need to verify and confirm their significance. What is important is that this non-invasive method has proven effective – it can be used as a basis to develop a clinical method”, commented corresponding author of the paper, Evgeniy Nikolaev (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology).
To allow utmost peptide identification researchers resorted to size exclusion chromatography in place of solid phase extraction.
Applying LC–MS/MS technology the team analyzed urine samples from three groups of ten women from the Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Peritanology. The three groups consisted of: women with normal pregnancy, those with mild and severe preeclampsia.
The team were not only interested in comparing the control group with those with PE, but also the presence of certain biomarker peptides in correlation to the severity of the condition.
From the 1786 peptides identified in this investigation, 35 potential peptide biomarkers were recognized differentiating one of the preeclampsia groups from the control.
The team are hopeful that these biomarkers can be used as early indicators of PE. The non-invasive nature of this diagnostic approach is particularly promising in early clinical diagnosis of PE.
Sources: Kononikhin AS, Starodubtseva NL , Bugrova AE et al. An untargeted approach for the analysis of the urine peptidome of women with preeclampsia. J. of Proteomics doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2016.04.024 (2016) (Epub ahead of print); A urine sample could be used to diagnose a complex and serious pregnancy disorder.