Absent or excessive corpus luteum number is associated with altered maternal vascular health in early pregnancy

Frauke Von Versen-Hoÿnck, Purnima Narasimhan, Elif Seda Selamet Tierney, Nadine Martinez, Kirk P. Conrad, Valerie L. Baker, Virginia D. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying modifiable factors that contribute to preeclampsia risk associated with assisted reproduction can improve maternal health. Vascular dysfunction predates clinical presentation of preeclampsia. Therefore, we examined if a nonphysiological hormonal milieu, a modifiable state, affects maternal vascular health in early pregnancy. Blood pressure, endothelial function, circulating endothelial progenitor cell numbers, lipid levels, and corpus luteum (CL) hormones were compared in a prospective cohort of women with infertility history based on number of CL: 0 CL (programmed frozen embryo transfer [FET], N=18); 1 CL (spontaneous conception [N=16] and natural cycle FET [N=12]); or >3 CL associated with in vitro fertilization [N=11]. Women with 0 or >3 CL lacked the drop in mean arterial blood pressure compared with those with 1 CL (both P=0.05). Reactive hyperemia index was impaired in women with 0 CL compared with 1 CL (P=0.04) while baseline pulse wave amplitude was higher with > 3 CL compared with 1 CL (P=0.01) or 0 CL (P=0.01). Comparing only FET cycles, a lower reactive hyperemia index and a higher augmentation index is noted in FETs with suppressed CL compared with FETs in a natural cycle (both P=0.03). The number of angiogenic and nonangiogenic circulating endothelial progenitor cell numbers was lower in the absence of a CL in FETs (P=0.01 and P=0.03). Vascular health in early pregnancy is altered in women with aberrant numbers of CL (0 or >3) and might represent insufficient cardiovascular adaptation contributing to an increased risk of preeclampsia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-690
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • corpus luteum
  • endothelial progenitor cells
  • infertility
  • pregnancy
  • vascular endothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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