Preeclampsia occurs in up to 10 percent of all pregnancies, and is responsible for about 15 percent of pre-term births. The disorder is usually marked by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to stroke, seizures or organ failures in the mother. Researchers have recently begun looking at preeclampsia as an autoimmune disorder, in which the mother’s body treats the placenta like an invader, but they weren’t sure of the genetic mechanisms involved.
Dr. Jorge Piedrahita, professor of genomics, along with colleagues from NC State and the Duke University School of Medicine, examined the genetic makeup of placentas from women with preeclampsia and compared the results to those from normal pregnancies. Their results are published in the February issue of the journal Placenta.
“When we looked at the preeclampsic placentas, we found that several genes associated with a particular autoimmune pathway were ‘upregulated’ – basically, that there were more of them in placentas of preeclampsic women than in normal placentas,” Piedrahita says. “More specifically, we found the upregulation of a particular enzyme involved in sialic acid modification called SIAE. Sialic acid coats every cell in our body, making it possible for our immune system to distinguish ‘self’ from ‘not-self.’ If this process is disrupted, the body can end up attacking itself.”
The researchers were excited by this finding because SIAE has recently been linked to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and type I diabetes.
“Prior to this research, we knew that there was an autoimmune cascade effect with preeclampsia, but we didn’t know where it originated,” Piedrahita adds. “Now we know that disregulation of SIAE helps start the cascade. We’ve been able to fill in the blanks, and hopefully pregnant women and their babies will benefit as a result.”
The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences and the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research are part of NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Note to editors: An abstract of the paper follows.
“Transcriptional profiling of human placentas from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia reveals disregulation of sialic acid acetylesterase and immune signalling pathways”
Authors: J.A. Piedrahita, S. Tsai, N.E. Hardison, A.A. Motsinger-Reif, S.R. Bischoff , North Carolina State University; B.H. Thames, A.H. James, Duke University School of Medicine
Published: February, 2011 in Placenta
Abstract: The placenta plays an important role as a regulator of fetal nutrition and growth throughout development and placental factors contribute to gestational abnormalities such as preeclampsia. This study describes the genome-wide gene expression profiles of a large (n ¼ 60) set of human placentas in order to uncover gene expression patterns associated with preeclampsia. In addition to confirming changes in expression of soluble factors associated with preeclampsia such as sFLT1 (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1), sENG (soluble endoglin), and INHA (inhibin alpha), we also find changes in immune-associated signaling pathways, offering a potential upstream explanation for the shallow trophoblast invasion and inadequate uterine remodeling typically observed in pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Notably, we also find evidence of preeclampsia-associated placental upregulation of sialic acid acetylesterase (SIAE), a gene functionally associated with autoimmune diseases.
Tracey Peake | EurekAlert!
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering