Oxidative Stress in Fetal Distress: Potential Prospects for Diagnosis
Our aim was to investigate the relation between fetal distress and oxidative stress. Fetal distress was associated with increased concentration of superoxide in the fetal blood and with significant increase of the level of H2O2 in both maternal and fetal blood. The activity of superoxide dismutase was increased roughly sixfold (p < 0.01) in the maternal [7330 ± 2240 U/g of hemoglobin in controls (C) and 36811 ± 16862 U/g in fetal distress (FD)] and fetal blood (C: 5930 ± 2641 U/g; FD: 41912 ± 17133 U/g). In contrast, fetal distress was related to a considerable decrease of catalase activity in both maternal (C: 26011 ± 8811 U/g; FD: 7212 ± 1270 U/g) and fetal blood (C: 37194 ± 9191 U/g; FD: 6173 ± 1965 U/g). From this we concluded that in fetal distress, the maternal and fetal bloods are exposed to superoxide- and H2O2-mediated oxidative stress, which could be initiated by hypoxic conditions in the fetal blood and placenta. A tremendous increase/decrease of the activities of superoxide dismutase/catalase in the blood of women bearing a distressed fetus in comparison to healthy subjects implies that the assessment of superoxide dismutase/catalase activity could be of use for establishing a timely and accurate ante- or intrapartum diagnosis of fetal distress.