Page URL:

New gene linked to pre-eclampsia discovered

21 February 2011
Appeared in BioNews 596

A gene important in autoimmune disease has been linked to pre-eclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy. The study from scientists at North Carolina State University looked at the genes that are switched on and off in the human placenta, to find genes that are differently expressed in pre-eclampsia.

The researchers found that, in placentas from women who had pre-eclampsia, a gene called sialic acid acetylesterase (SIAE) produces more than the normal amount of sialic acid acetylesterase protein. Mutations in the same gene have previously been linked to autoimmune disease. SIAE is thought to help regulate the activity of the immune system.

The researchers also linked a number of other genes involved with the immune system to pre-eclampsia, as well as confirming the involvement of genes previously implicated in pre-eclampsia development.

Earlier research suggested that preeclampsia happens when the mother's immune system starts to reject the placenta during pregnancy, treating it like an invading organism. This study provides a new link between the immune system and pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia causes high blood pressure and fluid retention during pregnancy, due to problems with the placenta, and can lead to problems with fetal development. It can also develop in rare cases to eclampsia, which is life threatening and associated with high maternal mortality.

Understanding more about the genetic mechanisms behind pre-eclampsia may lead to improved screening for the disorder. The study was published in the February 2011 issue of the journal Placenta.

Genetic mechanism associated with preeclampsia
BJM |  17 February 2011
NHS Choices |  9 October 2009
Transcriptional profiling of human placentas from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia reveals disregulation of sialic acid acetylesterase and immune signalling pathways
Placenta - February 2011 |  27 October 2021
19 May 2014 - by Dr Molly Godfrey 
Scientists have developed a prototype blood test to predict whether pregnant women who give signs of early labour will in fact give birth prematurely...
28 March 2011 - by Owen Clark 
A study has linked mutations in three genes with the severe pregnancy condition, pre-eclampsia. The international research team say they're the first to link genetic mutations and pre-eclampsia in women with the autoimmune disorder lupus...
29 November 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
A small study has recently suggested that women who use donated eggs in IVF could be at a higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia, a common but potentially dangerous pregnancy complication....
3 September 2007 - by Ailsa Stevens 
A team of US researchers based at Boston University have found that women who have IVF treatment are more likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy than women who conceive naturally. The study, published last week in the journal Fertility and Sterility, links IVF treatment to...
19 September 2005 - by BioNews 
Men and women born following a pregnancy affected by pre-eclampsia can both pass an increased risk of the condition on to the next generation, a Norwegian study has found. Scientists at the University of Bergen used data from the country's birth registry to show that daughters of women affected by...
8 April 2005 - by BioNews 
Dutch researchers have identified a faulty gene that causes pre-eclampsia in some families affected by the disease. Scientists at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam say the identification of the gene, dubbed STOX1, could lead to new tests for the condition. Women at risk could then be given preventative...
15 October 2004 - by BioNews 
Certain combinations of maternal and fetal genes might increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, the most common serious complication of pregnancy, UK scientists say.The researchers, based at Cambridge University, think some genetic variations that affect the mother's immune system could influence the supply of nutrients to the developing fetus. The...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.