Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover link between high levels of HtrA1 protein

01.02.2006


Findings may lead to future predictive test for preeclampsia



Mayo Clinic researchers have found an association between abnormally high levels of a protein named HtrA1 and preeclampsia, a sudden and dangerous rise in blood pressure that can result in premature delivery, disability or death for mother and fetus. The condition, which affects 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies worldwide, constitutes a medical emergency and often requires a Caesarean section delivery. The condition is estimated to cause 50,000 to 76,000 maternal deaths each year.

The Mayo Clinic work is the first to link high levels of HtrA1 in third-trimester placental tissues with severe preeclampsia. The results will be reported at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine annual meeting in Miami.


Though preliminary, the findings may one day lead to development of a blood test to track HtrA1 levels to identify women at risk of preeclampsia. Currently no predictive test exists for preeclampsia.

Notes Brian Brost, M.D., Mayo Clinic high-risk pregnancy specialist and senior study investigator, "It is certainly too early to say HtrA1 is a biomarker of preeclampsia, but the initial results are really encouraging, because the cause of this serious complication of pregnancy has not been well understood."

Funminiyi Ajayi, M.D., Mayo researcher and co-author of the paper, collected the placental samples and reviewed the results. "From a basic science point of view, this is an important contribution to understanding a complex series of events that we hope one day to be able to reverse or prevent," says Dr. Ajayi.

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

The Mayo Clinic researchers are the first to take two important steps toward developing a better understanding of preeclampsia. These "firsts" consist of:

1. Evaluating an association between preeclampsia and levels of HtrA1 found in placental tissues. The Mayo Clinic researchers tested levels of HtrA1 in specific cells of placentas obtained from women diagnosed with preeclampsia and compared these tissue samples to placentas from normal deliveries. Thirty placentas were evaluated. All placental pairs -- normal and preeclamptic -- were matched by gestational stage. Placentas were categorized in terms of the mother’s blood pressure as "normal," "mild preeclampsia" and "severe preeclampsia," according to accepted criteria set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Patients with underlying diseases -- such as diabetes -- that might alter blood pressure were not included in the study.

2. Documenting that the level of HtrA1 is altered in placental tissue from preeclamptic women. In the Mayo Clinic investigation, HtrA1 was found in higher amounts in third-trimester placentas of women with severe preeclampsia. Because greater amounts of HtrA1 indicate greater placental distress and disease severity, developing a blood test to detect levels of HtrA1 may possibly serve as an early warning system that placental conditions are changing. The hope is that such a predictive test would allow physicians to manage preeclampsia on a nonemergency basis when it is less threatening for mother and fetus, or possibly to devise therapies to stop the process or prevent it altogether, according to Dr. Brost.

Background Biology

Prior to the current Mayo Clinic investigation, the protein HtrA1 was known to be involved in programmed cell death, cell change and "invasiveness," the ability of cells to invade and colonize new areas. This process can be healthy -- as in establishing growth of a placenta in the uterus during the first trimester. Invasion also can be unhealthy -- as in the cases of cancer, another context in which the role of HtrA1 has been well studied.

In the Mayo Clinic investigation into HtrA1 and preeclampsia, findings suggest that the increased levels of HtrA1 impair correct functioning during the second stage of growth of key placental cells called cytotrophoblasts. Their job is to invade the uterus to establish the placenta. Just how HtrA1 does this is not known. One possibility is that its molecules "fit" into place in the molecular puzzle to activate abnormal growth. This is theoretically possible because HtrA1 molecules are structurally similar to other molecules, insulin-like growth factors (IGF) binding proteins, according to the Mayo Clinic researchers. Research has shown that an excess IGF binding protein disrupts the growth of cytotrophoblasts and also leads to the dysfunction of the placenta and impaired fetal growth.

Lisa Lucier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mayo.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)

nachricht CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>