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Measurements have been made of the urinary content of inositol phosphoglycans IPG P-type and IPG A-type, putative insulin second messengers, in preeclampsia, in type I insulin-treated diabetic pregnant women and their matched control subjects, and nonpregnant women of child-bearing age. The content of IPG P-type and IPG A-type was also measured in the placenta from preeclamptic patients and from normal pregnancies. Pregnancy was associated with an increase, approximately twofold, in urinary output of IPG-P-type relative to nonpregnant controls (P<0.01). The 24-h output of IPG P-type in urine in preeclamptic women was significantly higher (2- to 3-fold) than in pregnant control subjects matched for age, parity, and stage of gestation (P<0.02). In contrast, insulin-dependent diabetic pregnant women did not show any significant change in urinary output of IPG P-type or IPG A-type relative to pregnant control subjects. Evidence for a possible relationship and correlation between the urinary excretion of IPG P-type and markers of preeclampsia, including proteinuria (r = 0.720, P<0.01), plasma aspartate transaminase (r = 0.658, P<0.05), and platelet counts (r = 0.613, P<0.05) is presented. A high yield of IPG P-type was extracted from human placenta, in preeclampsia some 3-fold higher (P = 0.03) than the normal value, whereas no IPG A-type (with lipogenic-stimulating activity) was found. Low concentrations of placental IPG A-type were detected relative to IPG P-type using assay systems dependent upon the effect of this mediator on cAMP-dependent protein kinase or on a proliferation assay using thymidine incorporation into DNA of EGFR T17 fibroblasts. It is postulated that the high urinary excretion IPG P-type in preeclampsia reflects high placental levels and relates to the accumulation of glycogen in the placenta. The paracrine effects of placental IPG P-type (stimulation off other endocrine glands and/or endothelial cells) could contribute to the pathogenesis of the maternal syndrome. A possible theoretical link between elevated placental IPG P-type and apoptosis is proposed.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Genet Metab

Publication Date





144 - 158


Adult, Animals, Biomarkers, Cell Line, Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Enzyme Activation, Female, Fibroblasts, Gestational Age, Glycogen, Glycogen Synthase, Humans, Inositol Phosphates, Male, Placenta, Polysaccharides, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy in Diabetics, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Signal Transduction