Fetal erythropoietin (Epo) concentrations were studied in monochorionic (MC) twin pregnancies in relation to twin–twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Matched maternal and fetal blood samples in utero were obtained from MC twins with TTTS ( n = 15) and without TTTS ( n = 6). In a second group of five sets of twin pairs with or without TTTS, immunolocalization of Epo was performed in archived paraffin wax sections of liver and kidney collected at autopsy. Epo was measured using a chemiluminescence assay and expressed as gestation independent Z -scores and given as mean ± 95% confidence intervals (CI). Fetal Epo concentrations in utero were higher in MC twins with TTTS than the non-TTTS as a group ( P < 0.001). There was no difference in Epo concentrations between TTTS and non-TTTS twin pairs. Fetal Epo concentrations were correlated with pO 2 in the recipient ( r = 0.64; P < 0.01), donor ( r = 0.64; P < 0.01) and control twins ( r = 0.76; P < 0.01). Immunostaining of the fetal kidney localized Epo primarily to the cytoplasm of the proximal convoluted tubules. The intensity of staining in the kidney and liver was comparable between TTTS and non-TTTS twin pairs. Fetal Epo concentrations were higher in the TTTS than non-TTTS twin pairs and were correlated with the degree of hypoxaemia. However, Epo concentrations were comparable between donor and recipient twins, perhaps due to similar production rather than inter-twin transfusion of blood.
Copyright (C) 2001, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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