Table of Contents
ISRN Endocrinology
Volume 2013, Article ID 341632, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Human Serum PCSK9 Is Elevated at Parturition in Comparison to Nonpregnant Subjects While Serum PCSK9 from Umbilical Cord Blood is Lower Compared to Maternal Blood

1Clinical Research Laboratory, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Riverside Campus, University of Ottawa, 1967 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 7W9
2Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5
3Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Cellular Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, 501 Smyth Road, Box 804, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L6
4Chronic Disease Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, The Ottawa Hospital, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L6
5Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Winchester District Memorial Hospital, 566 Louise Street, Winchester, ON, Canada K0C 2K0

Received 9 April 2013; Accepted 15 May 2013

Academic Editors: R. Aikin, W. B. Chan, Y. Combarnous, T. Dinh, and S. Mishra

Copyright © 2013 Patricia Peticca et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Serum lipids including total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are increased in pregnancy. Serum proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (PCSK9) is a significant player in lipoprotein metabolism. Circulating PCSK9 downregulates the LDL receptor on the surface of the liver, inhibiting clearance of LDL-C. Therefore, our study assessed serum PCSK9 concentrations at parturition (Maternal) compared to a nonpregnant (Control) cohort, as well as between mother and newborn (Maternal and Newborn). Methods. Blood was collected from women at parturition and from umbilical cords. Serum lipids and PCSK9 were measured and data were analysed for significance by Mann-Whitney test at and presented as median levels. Spearman's correlations were made at a 95% confidence interval. Results. Serum PCSK9 was significantly higher in Maternal versus Control cohorts (493.1 versus 289.7 ng/mL; , resp.), while the Newborn cohort was significantly lower than Maternal (278.2 versus 493.1 ng/mL; , resp.). PCSK9 was significantly correlated with TC and HDL-C in Maternal and with TC, LDL-C, and HDL-C in Newborn cohorts. Conclusions. Our study provides the first quantitative report on PCSK9 in pregnancy (at parturition) and in umbilical cord blood. Further research will determine how these changes may affect lipoprotein levels during this physiological state.