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Pre-eclampsia May be an Autoimmune Disease

  August, 7 2008 17:37
your information resource in human molecular genetics

A pre-eclampsia-like syndrome can be induced in mice by giving them autoantibodies isolated from humans with the disease, reports a study published in Nature Medicine. This finding may have implications in the diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia affects about 5% of pregnancies and is a leading cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity in the world. The clinical hallmarks of this disorder include hypertension, vascular dysfunction and placental defects, and it can lead to cerebral haemorrhage and renal failure. There is no effective treatment owing to the poor understanding of the disease.

Some studies have shown that women with pre-eclampsia have autoantibodies that bind and activate a receptor called angiotensin II type 1a (AT1), which is known to participate in blood pressure regulation. Yang Xia and colleagues show that some of these features appear in pregnant mice after injection with antibodies against the AT1 receptor. They managed to prevent this pre-eclampsia-like syndrome by co-injection with the AT1 receptor antagonist losartan or with an AT1 receptor-derived peptide capable of neutralizing the antibody.

Author contact:

Yang Xia (University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX, USA)
E-mail: yang.xia@uth.tmc.edu

Abstract available online.

(C) Nature Medicine press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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