Diagnostic significance of determining the expression of energy metabolism genes in fetal growth retardation
Objective: To determine the level of expression of energy metabolism genes, namely visfatin (NAMPT), ghrelin (GHRL) and leptin (LEP) in maternal and umbilical cord blood and in the placenta in case of fetal growth retardation.
Materials and methods: The study included 52 pregnant women: the main group consisted of 27 patients diagnosed with fetal growth retardation postnatally; the control group included 25 women with normal course of pregnancy. Real-time PCR was used to determine the expression level of energy metabolism genes.
Results: The level of expression of the NAMPT and GHRL genes in maternal blood was found to be statistically significantly reduced in fetal growth retardation (p=0.012 and p=0.019, respectively). The level of expression of the NAMPT and GHRL genes in umbilical cord blood was also reduced in comparison with the control group, but it was not statistically significant (p=0.30 and p=0.23, respectively). LEP gene expression in maternal and umbilical cord blood was not found. The level of leptin expression in the placenta was found to be statistically significantly increased in the main group (p=0.045), though these differences were not associated with gestational age at the time of delivery.
Conclusion: The decreased levels of expression of the NAMPT and GHRL genes in maternal blood can become an objective marker for diagnosing fetal growth retardation during pregnancy. The increased expression of LEP in the placenta in fetal growth retardation may give a better understanding of its pathogenesis and new opportunities for its diagnosis.