, Volume 285, Issue 4, pp 891-899
Date: 11 Jan 2012

Relationships among maternal nutrient intake and placental biomarkers during the 1st trimester in low-income women

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Pre-eclampsia is a multi-system disorder caused by inadequate placentation in early pregnancy; however, little is known about the influence of nutrient intake on placental development during the crucial 1st trimester. The objective of this study was to examine the relationships between nutrient intake and the raw values and ratios of angiogenic [placental growth factor (PlGF)] and antiangiogenic [soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and soluble endoglin (sEng)] placental biomarkers in the 1st trimester.


A cross-sectional study of low-income, pregnant women (n = 118). Average nutrient intake was calculated from three 24-h dietary recalls. Biomarker values were adjusted for gestational age and nutrients were adjusted for energy.


The angiogenic to antiangiogenic ratio [PlGF/(sFlt-1 × sEng)] was positively related to intake of vitamin D (r = 0.24), vitamin B2 (r = 0.25), B12 (r = 0.20), dietary folate equivalents (r = 0.19), iron (r = 0.19), and zinc (r = 0.19) and negatively related to transfats (r = −0.24). Principal component analysis revealed that a vitamin/mineral factor [t (112) = 2.58, p = 0.011] and transfats factor [t (112) = −2.03, p = 0.045] were significant predictors of the PlGF/(sFlt-1 × sEng) ratio. The vitamin and mineral factor was a significant predictor of sFlt-1 [t (122) = 2.29, p = 0.024].


Expression of placental biomarkers in the early weeks of pregnancy may be influenced by intake of nutrients. Understanding the influence of maternal nutrient intake and placental development in the 1st trimester may provide the opportunity to avert the development or blunt the severity of preeclampsia.