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OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether maternal plasma sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations are reduced in women who subsequently develop pre-eclampsia. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study, carried out at antenatal clinics in seven hospitals in and around London. Healthy women underwent uterine artery Doppler velocimetry as a screening method for pre-eclampsia at 22-24 weeks of gestation. The first group (408 women) had normal uterine artery Doppler waveforms (mean uterine artery pulsatility index (PI) below 1.6). The second group (274 women) had increased impedance to flow in the uterine arteries (mean PI above the 95th centile, 1.6). Maternal plasma SHBG concentrations were measured retrospectively using a competitive chemiluminescent immunoassay. Pre-eclampsia was as defined by the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy. RESULTS: Plasma SHBG concentrations in the 80 (11.7%) women who subsequently developed pre-eclampsia were significantly lower than in the 585 (85.8%) women with normal pregnancy outcomes (median 336, range 142-674 nmol/l vs. median 336, range 142-674 nmol/l, p = 0.001). There was a strong correlation between SHBG concentrations and body mass index (r =-0.232246, p < 0.0001). There were no significant differences in maternal plasma SHBG concentrations in women with abnormal uterine artery Doppler (n = 274) compared with controls (n = 408) (median 324, range 101-635 nmol/l vs. median 336, range 142-674 nmol/l, p = 0.09). CONCLUSION: Maternal plasma SHBG concentrations are reduced in women who subsequently develop pre-eclampsia.

Original publication




Journal article


J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med

Publication Date





158 - 162


Adult, Body Mass Index, Case-Control Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Osmolar Concentration, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, Second, Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin