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Decreased plasma tetrahydrobiopterin in pregnant women is caused by impaired 6-pyruvoyl tetrahydropterin synthase activity

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Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is an essential cofactor of nitric oxide synthase as well as a cofactor of aromatic amino acid hydroxylases. However, its role in pregnancy is not yet understood. We evaluated the concentrations of BH4 throughout normal pregnancy and puerperium, and compared them with those of non-pregnant women by measuring its oxidation product biopterin. In addition, we also measured 6-pyruvoyl tetrahydropterin synthase (PTPS) activities, the rate-limiting enzyme in synthesizing BH4, in pregnant women at the 30th gestational week and non-pregnant women. Although the urinary biopterin levels did not remarkably change, plasma biopterin levels significantly decreased from the 10th gestational week to the 1st day of postpartum compared with those of non-pregnant women. There was no significant difference in PTPS activities between pregnant and non-pregnant women. However, the proportion of reticulocytes, which have been shown to possess high PTPS activity, is significantly higher in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women. Our results suggest that decreased plasma BH4 levels in pregnancy is caused by impaired PTPS activity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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