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Genetic link to recurrent miscarriage

4 February 2002
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 143

Scientists believe that they have discovered a 'rogue gene' that predisposes people to blood clots and may therefore cause some women to suffer recurrent or late miscarriages.

It is thought that mutations in the Factor V Leiden (FVL) gene cause clots in blood vessels in the placenta, which increase the risk of miscarriage. The report, published in the journal Human Reproduction, showed that women who had a mutated FVL gene and had a history of miscarriages at about 12 weeks also had a poor rate of live births when compared to a control group of women with a normal copy of the gene.

A group of 25 women with mutated FVL genes and either a history of recurrent or late miscarriage were compared with 198 women with similar histories but a normal copy of the gene. The live birth rates for those who had recurrent miscarriages were nearly 40 per cent and nearly 70 per cent respectively. For those who had late miscarriage it was 11 per cent and 49 per cent

Dr Raj Rai, from Imperial College, London, where the study took place, said that the low birth rate 'suggests that Factor V Leiden is an important and potentially treatable cause of recurrent miscarriages'. The research team has now called for doctors to screen women with a history of recurrent miscarriage for FVL mutations and the development of targeted anti-blood clotting treatments.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Rogue gene link to miscarriages
BBC News Online |  29 January 2002
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