Placental growth factor (PlGF), a member of the vascular endothelial growth factor family, was originally discovered in the placenta, but is also present in a range of other tissues including the heart. PlGF stimulates angiogenesis via binding to the membrane-spanning receptor Flt-1 and exacerbates atherosclerosis by stimulating the migration of monocytes/ macrophages into the arterial wall. PlGF plays an important role in a range of pathological conditions including pre-eclampsia, cardiovascular diseases, and tumor progression. Plasma PlGF levels rise steadily throughout pregnancy from the level of nonpregnant women (< 50 pg/mL) to levels exceeding 500 pg/mL after 30 weeks of gestation. In pre-eclampsia, PlGF levels are far lower than normal pregnancy levels.
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