Serum vitamin A, vitamin E, and beta-carotene levels in preeclamptic women in Northern Nigeria

Shahed A. Ziari, Veronica L. Mireles, Cynthia G. Cantu, Miguel Cervantes, Audu Idrisa, Daniel Bobsom, Andrew T.C. Tsin, Robert H. Glew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We compared the serum levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A (retinol), and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) in healthy pregnant women and their counterparts who exhibited the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia or eclampsia, including; systolic blood pressure greater than 160 mm Hg, edema, and proteinuria. The study was conducted in the cities of Maiduguri and Bauchi, which are located in the semi-arid northeastern region of Nigeria. Most of the pregnant subjects: (1) were teenagers, though they ranged in age from 14 to 25 years; (2) bad 2 or fewer prior pregnancies; and (3) were predominantly of the Muslim faith and members of the Hausa, Fulani, or Kanuri ethnic groups. Few of the women bad received prenatal care. Serum levels of vitamins A and E and betacarotene were quantified using high pressure liquid chromatography. The serum vitamin A levels of the 9 preedamptic women (15.3 mg/dL) and the 7 eclamptic women (8.3 mg/dL) were significantly reduced (p<0.01) relative to the serum vitamin A levels of healthy women in the third trimester (24.2 mg/dL). For the healthy pregnant controls, the levels of vitamins A and E and beta-carotene were relatively constant throughout pregnancy. The mean serum beta-carotene levels for both the preeclamptic and eclamptic groups of subjects were half as high as those of healthy control women in the third trimester (p=0.004). The serum vitamin E levels of the preeclamptic and eclamptic women were 15% and 30% lower, respectively, than those of the corresponding controls (0<0.01). The serum levels of these three lipids in the healthy pregnant and non-pregnant women we studied are similar to values reported by others for North American and European women of childbearing age. These results support the hypothesis that preeclampsia-eclampsia deplete natural lipid antioxidants and suggest that the reduced levels of vitamin A in such women experiencing hypertension of pregnancy, if they happen to be infected with the HIV-1 virus, may place them at increased risk for mother- child transmission of the virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Eclampsia
  • Sub- Saharan Africa
  • beta-carotene
  • hypertension
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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