Publications & Posters

Impact of Parturition on Maternal Cardiovascular and Neuronal Integrity in a High Risk Cohort – A Prospective Cohort Study


Evers KS, Huhn EA, Fouzas S, Barro C, Kuhle J, Fisch U, Bernasconi L, Lapaire O and Wellmann S

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2019 Nov 5;19(1):403. 

doi: 10.1186/s12884-019-2570-6.

This study was peformed using a Simoa® Homebrew assay.



To better understand the profound multisystem changes in maternal physiology triggered by parturition, in particular in the underexplored neuronal system, by deploying a panel of pre- vs post-delivery maternal serum biomarkers, most notably the neuronal cytoskeleton constituent neurofilament light chain (NfL). This promising fluid biomarker is not only increasingly applied to investigate disease progression in numerous brain diseases, particularly in proteopathies, but also in detection of traumatic brain injury or monitoring neuroaxonal injury after ischemic stroke.


The study was nested within a prospective cohort study of pregnant women at risk of developing preeclampsia at the University Hospital of Basel. Paired ante- and postpartum levels of progesterone, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), placental growth factor (PlGF), mid-regional pro-atrial natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP), copeptin (CT-proAVP), and NfL were measured in 56 women with complete clinical data.


Placental delivery significantly decreased all placental markers: progesterone 4.5-fold, PlGF 2.2-fold, and sFlt-1 1.7-fold. Copeptin and MR-proANP increased slightly (1.4- and 1.2-fold, respectively). Unexpectedly, NfL levels (median [interquartile range]) increased significantly post-partum: 49.4 (34.7-77.8) vs 27.7 (16.7-31.4) pg/ml (p < 0.0001). Antepartum NfL was the sole independent predictor of NfL peri-partum change; mode of delivery, duration of labor, clinical characteristics and other biomarkers were all unrelated. Antepartum NfL levels were themselves independently predicted only by maternal age.


Parturition per se increases maternal serum NfL levels, suggesting a possible impact of parturition on maternal neuronal integrity.