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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 637513, 6 pages
Research Article

Interleukin-15 (IL-15) and Anti-C1q Antibodies as Serum Biomarkers for Ectopic Pregnancy and Missed Abortion

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Thessaly Medical School, University Hospital Larissa, Biopolis, 41110 Larissa, Greece
2Division of Pediatric, Adolescent Gynecology and Reconstructive Surgery, 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical School, University of Athens and Aretaieion Hospital, Vasilisis Sofias 76, 11528 Athens, Greece
3Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Thessaly Medical School, University Hospital Larissa, Biopolis, 41110 Larissa, Greece
4Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Thessaly Medical School, University Hospital Larissa, 6 Lapithon Street, Biopolis, 41221 Larissa, Greece

Received 3 November 2012; Accepted 25 November 2012

Academic Editor: Dimitrios P. Bogdanos

Copyright © 2013 Alexandros Daponte 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.


Given the present lack of clinically useful tests for the accurate diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy (EP), there is a need to select out those immunological factors measured in the maternal serum, as potential biomarkers. Our assumption was that C1q/anti-C1q antibody complexes and serum levels of interleukin-15 (IL-15) may play a role in differentiating abortions (MAs) and EPs and normal pregnancies. We assessed whether their measurement could set the diagnosis in a case control study at 6–8 weeks consisting of 60 women with failed early pregnancy (30 EPs, 30 MAs) and 33 women with intrauterine pregnancies. Normal pregnancies contain anti-C1q antibodies more frequently compared to women with failed pregnancies, the lowest levels being found in EPs, but this lacked statistical significance and anti-C1q could not serve as a marker. However EP pregnancies had elevated IL-15 levels that could statistically significantly differentiate them from MAs and IUPs. Furthermore, when assessing IL-15 for the clinically important differentiation between IUP and EP, we found at a cut-off of 16 pg/mL a negative predictive value of 99 with a sensitivity for diagnosing an EP of 92%. According to these results, serum IL-15 is a promising marker differentiating an MA from an EP.