Maternal 27-hydroxycholesterol concentrations during the course of pregnancy and in pregnancy pathologies.

Winkler, Brigitte Sophia; Pecks, Ulrich; Najjari, Laila; Kleine-Eggebrecht, Nicola; Maass, Nicolai; Mohaupt, Markus; Escher, Geneviève (2017). Maternal 27-hydroxycholesterol concentrations during the course of pregnancy and in pregnancy pathologies. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 17(1), p. 106. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12884-017-1287-7

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The oxysterol 27-hydroxycholesterol (27-OHC) plays an important role in the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis. Pregnancy pathologies like preeclampsia (PE), HELLP-syndrome (HELLP), intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and intrahepatic cholestasis in pregnancy (ICP) are linked to disturbances in lipid metabolism. In the present study, we hypothesized a specific gestational regulation of 27-OHC and compromised 27-OHC levels due to placental and hepatic diseases in pregnancy resulting in a dysregulation of lipid metabolism.


The 27-OHC was measured by gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and related to cholesterol concentrations. In the longitudinal cohort, a complete set of samples of healthy patients (n = 33) obtained at three different time points throughout gestation and once post-partum was analyzed. In the cross sectional cohort, patients with pregnancy pathologies (IUGR n = 14, PE n = 14, HELLP n = 7, ICP n = 7) were matched to a control group (CTRL) of equal gestational ages.


The 27-OHC levels already increased in the first trimester despite lower TC concentrations (p < 0.05). During the course of pregnancy, a subtle rise in 27-OHC concentrations results in an overall decrease of 27-OHC/TC ratio in between the first (p < 0.05) and second trimester. The ratio remains stable thereafter including the post-partum period. No significant differences have been observed in pregnancy pathologies as compared to the CTRL group.


In conclusion, 27-OHC may have a compensatory role in cholesterol metabolism early in pregnancy. The conserved 27-OHC/TC ratio in pregnancy pathologies suggest that neither the placenta nor the liver is majorly involved in the regulation of 27-OHC metabolism.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Nephrology and Hypertension
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Nephrologie / Hypertonie

UniBE Contributor:

Pecks, Ulrich, Mohaupt, Markus, Escher, Geneviève


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation




Geneviève Escher

Date Deposited:

05 Sep 2017 09:17

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:05

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

27-OHC/TC ratio; 27-hydroxycholesterol; HELLP-syndrome; Intrahepatic cholestasis in pregnancy; Intrauterine growth restriction; Lipid metabolism; Preeclampsia




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