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Serum Magnesium Levels in Non-Pregnant, Pregnant And Pre-Eclamptic Women in Lagos, Nigeria
Inspite of intensive research, the precise cause of pre-eclampsia is not known with certainty. The pathogenesis of placental dysfunction, the initiation of system vasospasm, ischaemia and thrombosis that eventually damage maternal organs and cause placental infarction and fetal death are poorly understood.
The objective of this study was to compare the serum magnesium levels in normal pregnancy and pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia since magnesium has been implicated in the pathogenesis of vascular dysfunction. We measured serum magnesium levels in patients with pre-eclampsia (n=36), patients with normal pregnancy (n=32) and non-pregnant controls (n=27). Compared with non-pregnant controls, serum magnesium levels were significantly lower in the pre-eclamptic patients (0.57±0.07mg/dl vs.0.83±0.07mg/dl, p<0.001, t=20.42). Interestingly, serum magnesium levels were also significantly lower in pregnancy controls compared to non-pregnant women (0.67±0.08 mg/dl vs. 0.83 ±0.07mg/dl, p<0.001, t=8.93). Compared to the normotensive pregnant controls a further (non-significant) reduction in serum magnesium level was observed in the pre-eclamptic group (0.57±0.07mg/dl vs. 0.67±0.08mg/dl, p<0.05).
The results of this study suggest the presence of significant magnesium depletion in pre-eclamptic patients in our environment and further support the view that magnesium depletion to a lesser degree occurs in normal pregnancy. Whether or not this relative or absolute magnesium depletion can predispose to the vascular complications of pre-eclampsia remains to be further investigated.
Keywords: pre-eclampsia, Magnesium
NQJHM Vol. 14 (2) 2004: pp. 178-180