A role of the anti-angiogenic factor sVEGFR-1 in the 'mirror syndrome' (Ballantyne's syndrome) Academic Article uri icon


  • 'Mirror syndrome' (Ballantyne's syndrome) refers to the association of fetal hydrops with placentomegaly and severe maternal edema. Preeclampsia occurs in approximately 50% of these cases. Soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (sVEGFR-1), an anti-angiogenic factor, has been implicated in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia (PE). The objective of this study was to determine if the maternal plasma concentration of sVEGFR-1 is elevated in patients with mirror syndrome. This case-control study included patients with uncomplicated pregnancies (n = 40) and those with mirror syndrome (n = 4) matched for gestational age. Mirror syndrome was defined as fetal hydrops and severe maternal edema. Maternal plasma sVEGFR-1 concentrations were determined using specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Immunohistochemistry of sVEGFR-1 on villous trophoblasts was also performed in samples from one patient with mirror syndrome and compared with those from a patient with spontaneous preterm delivery matched for gestational age. Non-parametric statistics were used for analysis (p < 0.05). (1) The median maternal plasma concentration of sVEGFR-1 was significantly higher in patients with mirror syndrome than in the control group (median: 3974 pg/mL, range: 3083-10 780 vs. median: 824 pg/mL, range: 260-4712, respectively; p < 0.001). (2) All patients with mirror syndrome had sVEGFR-1 concentrations above the 95th percentile for gestational age. Syncytiotrophoblast, especially syncytial knots, showed strong staining with antibodies against sVEGFR-1 in placental samples from the patient with mirror syndrome, but not in those from the patient with spontaneous preterm delivery. High maternal plasma concentrations of sVEGFR-1 were observed in mirror syndrome. We propose that this anti-angiogenic factor may participate in the pathophysiology of this syndrome. Thus, maternal plasma determination of sVEGFR-1 may help to identify the hydropic fetus that places the mother at risk for preeclampsia.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006