Flow-mediated dilation and peripheral arterial tonometry are disturbed in preeclampsia and reflect different aspects of endothelial function

Dominique Mannaerts*, Ellen Faes, Inge Goovaerts, Tibor Stoop, Jerome Cornette, Wilfried Gyselaers, Marc Spaanderman, Emeline M. Van Craenenbroeck, Yves Jacquemyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Endothelial function and arterial stiffness are known to be altered in preeclamptic pregnancies. Previous studies have shown conflicting results regarding the best technique for assessing vascular function in pregnancy. In this study, we made a comprehensive evaluation of in vivo vascular function [including flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT), and arterial stiffness] in preeclamptic patients and compared them with normal pregnancies. In addition, we assessed the relation between vascular function and systemic inflammation. Fourteen patients with preeclampsia (PE) and 14 healthy pregnant controls were included. Endothelial function was determined by FMD and PAT and arterial stiffness by carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity and augmentation index. Systemic inflammation was assessed using mean platelet volume (MPV) and neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR). The reactive hyperemia index, assessed using PAT, is decreased at the third trimester compared with the first trimester in a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy (P = 0.001). Arterial stiffness is significantly higher in PE versus normal pregnancy (P <0.001). Endothelial function, obtained by FMD, is deteriorated in PE versus normal pregnancy (P = 0.015), whereas endothelial function assessment by PAT is improved in PE versus normal pregnancy (P = 0.001). Systemic inflammation (MPV and NLR) increases during normal pregnancy. FMD and PAT are disturbed in PE. Endothelial function, assessed by FMD and PAT, shows distinct results. This may indicate that measurements with FMD and PAT reflect different aspects of endothelial function and that PAT should not be used as a substitute for FMD as a measure of endothelial function in pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R518-R525
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • endothelial function
  • flow-mediated dilatation
  • preeclampsia
  • reactive hyperemia
  • 2ND-HALF


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