Free Radical Attack on Membrane Lipid and Antioxidant Vitamins in the Course of Pre-Eclamptic Pregnancy
Background: Despite the volume of knowledge and daily reports on pre-eclampsia, its pathogenesis is still yet to be ascertained. Oxidative stress (oxidant (free radical) in excess of antioxidant) injury is one of the recently suggested pathogenetic mechanisms. This study, however, was designed to determine second and third trimesters of plasma malondialdehyde (product of free radical attack on membrane lipid) and vitamins C and E in pre-eclamptic Nigerian women.
Subjects and methods: A Total of 100 subjects, each for pre-eclamptic, apparently normal and non-pregnant women qualified for the study. Venous blood samples were taken in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and at the point of contact for non-pregnant women. Variables were analyzed using SPSS version 16, taking level of significance to be 0.05.
Results: Plasma malondialdehyde in the third trimester of normal pregnancy (2.03±0.71μmol/l) was found to be significantly higher than the one in the second trimester (1.65±0.62μmol/l) (p<0.0001). For pre-eclamptic subjects, the malondialdehyde in the third trimester (3.13±0.61μmol/l) was also higher than the malondialdehyde in the second trimester (3.00±1.21μmol/l).The mean vitamin C values for subjects with normal pregnancy were similar in the second and third trimesters (38.25±19.66 vs. 38.66±19.40; p=0.882). For subjects with pre-eclampsia, the mean Vit C values were also similar in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters (35.05±18.37 vs. 37.20±24.44μmol/l;p=0.175).Mean vitamin E values in the second and third trimesters were also similar for subjects with normal pregnancy (28.62±13.85 vs. 28.50±13.35μmol/l;p=0.950). A similar finding was observed in pre-eclamptic subjects (25.09±12.79 vs. 28.00±14.83μmol/l;p=0.067).
Conclusion: There was an increased product of membrane lipid attack (malondialdehyde) with no change in plasma levels of vitamins C and E as pregnancy advances into the third trimester of both normal and pre-eclamptic pregnancies. Antioxidant vitamins may not be useful in stopping the progression of free radical attack on membrane lipid to control pre-eclampsia.
Keywords: Lipid peroxidation, Malondiadehyde, Free radical, Pre-eclampsia, Trimester, Vitamins