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

37 Scopus citations


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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