It has been hypothesized that in preeclampsia, the antioxidant-deficient state may facilitate increased attacks of free radicals, which may result in endothelial cell damage. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of three lipid-soluble antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol, with preeclampsia and normal pregnancy. Serum levels of all three antioxidants in 42 women with normal pregnancies, 25 with mild preeclampsia and 28 with severe preeclampsia were measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography. A significant decrease was observed in serum levels of coenzyme Q10 and α-tocopherol (p < 0.001 for each by the Kruskal-Wallis rank test) in women with preeclampsia compared to levels in normal pregnancy. γ-Tocopherol levels were comparable among the different groups. Logistic regression analysis revealed significant association between grades of preeclampsia and both serum coenzyme Q10 and α-tocopherol levels (p = 0.000 and 0.030, respectively). Coenzyme Q10 and α-tocopherol are potent antioxidants, and the decreased levels of these two antioxidants in preeclampsia may alter the normal redox balance, thereby reducing the ability of antioxidant defenses to protect against free radical damage. This could be a factor in the endothelial cell damage observed in preeclampsia.

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