Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UI researchers find early predictor for preeclampsia

09.07.2014

Biomarker detected as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy

University of Iowa researchers have discovered a biomarker that could give expecting mothers and their doctors the first simple blood test to reliably predict that a pregnant woman may develop preeclampsia, at least as early as 6 weeks into the pregnancy.

Preeclampsia is a cardiovascular disorder generally occurring late in pregnancy and often resulting in an early delivery, creating immediate and potentially lifelong risks to both mother and baby. It causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and is typically diagnosed in the late second or third trimester of pregnancy. Between 5 and 7 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are affected with preeclampsia, equating to roughly 4,000 pregnancies in Iowa or around 500,000 in the United States per year. More than 100,000 women worldwide die from the disease each year.

In their paper, "Vasopressin in Preeclampsia: A Novel Very-Early Human Pregnancy Biomarker and Clinically-Relevant Mouse Model," study authors Mark Santillan, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, Justin Grobe, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pharmacology and a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA), and Donna Santillan, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, demonstrate that elevated secretion of arginine vasopressin (AVP) can be a very early biomarker of a preeclamptic pregnancy.

The paper was published online Monday in the American Heart Association's journal, Hypertension. It will be published in print in October.

"Preeclampsia is a horrible hypertensive disorder of pregnancy that can be very dangerous to both the mother and the baby," Mark Santillan says. "Preeclampsia can cause liver failure, kidney failure, seizures, and death. Preeclamptic mothers and babies born to these preeclamptic moms are also at increased lifetime risk for heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes. Unfortunately, we have no reliable way to predict and prevent preeclampsia. The only thing you can do to protect a baby and a mother from some of the negative effects of preeclampsia is to deliver the baby, and most of the time that results in a preterm birth."

The researchers believe this discovery will majorly impact obstetric care in rural and underserved communities. Determining very early that a pregnancy is going to be preeclamptic is significant, the researchers say, so doctors can help expecting mothers by heightening their awareness of significant symptoms of preeclampsia or if need be, transfer them to hospitals able to provide the appropriate, higher level of medical care.

"Sometimes symptoms of normal pregnancy such as headaches, occasional blurry vision, abdominal pain, and swelling are really symptoms of preeclampsia and not something that should just be dismissed without testing by healthcare providers." Donna Santillan says. "Being able to determine that a pregnancy is affected by preeclampsia early will help women pay careful attention to their symptoms and to get medical care before the effects of preeclampsia becoming severe for both the mother and baby. The women who have participated in this study by donating their blood samples have made a great contribution to advancing the health of women."

What the researchers found was that maternal plasma copeptin – an inert, stable biomarker of vasopressin secretion with a substantially longer half-life in the blood than vasopressin – is a clinically useful biomarker that predicts preeclampsia. Using samples from the Maternal Fetal Tissue bank, a major part of the University of Iowa Women's Health Tissue Repository, copeptin levels were measured throughout pregnancy in maternal plasma from preeclamptic and control women. Copeptin levels were significantly higher throughout the preeclamptic pregnancies than in the control pregnancies.

The group is currently working to determine if the copeptin biomarker is also elevated in urine, and could therefore be used in a simple home test kit.

While there are currently no treatments for preeclampsia other than premature delivery of the baby, the researchers are also investigating new drug targets. The group has demonstrated that infusion of vasopressin into pregnant mice causes all of the major symptoms of preeclampsia. Until this discovery, there was no effective animal model of the early-pregnancy events that precipitate preeclampsia.

"We've broken the circle of 'no test, no model, no cure' which has plagued the preeclampsia field for centuries," notes Grobe. "Suddenly we have identified a hormone that is elevated well ahead of the disorder, and have demonstrated that this hormone can cause the symptoms. It is only a matter of time before we can therapeutically target this system as a preventative or curative intervention."

Study authors also included Sabrina Scroggins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UI Carver College of Medicine; James Min, M.D. student, University of Iowa; Jeremy Sandgren, MSTP (M.D./Ph.D.) student, UI Carver College of Medicine; Nicole Pearson, M.P.H., Research Assistant, UI Carver College of Medicine; Kimberly Leslie, M.D., Chair and DEO of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Stephen Hunter, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Gideon Zamba, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biostatistics, UI College of Public Health; and Katherine Gibson-Corley, D.V.M., Ph.D., Director, Histology Research Laboratory and Assistant Professor of Pathology.

The research was funded through grants from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to Mark Santillan and Justin Grobe; the American Heart Association to Mark Santillan and Justin Grobe (14IRG18710013); the NIH to Mark Santillan (HD000849, RR024980) and Justin Grobe (HL098276, HL0842070); from the American Diabetes Association to Grobe (1-14-BS-079); and the NIH Immunology Postdoctoral Training Grant to Sabrina Scroggins (5T32AI007260-27). Other funding sources include the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development to Grobe; Preeclampsia Foundation to Santillan; University of Iowa Medical Student Research Program to Min; the University of Iowa Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and the University of Iowa Department of Pharmacology.

Molly Rossiter | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Gynecology Health Iowa Medicine Obstetrics delivery disorder predictor preeclampsia pregnancies pregnancy symptoms

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New Model of T Cell Activation
27.05.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity
27.05.2016 | Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie - Hans-Knöll-Institut (HKI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Worldwide Success of Tyrolean Wastewater Treatment Technology

A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.

The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...

Im Focus: Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.

The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...

Im Focus: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

International expert meeting “Health Business Connect” in France

19.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

11 million Euros for research into magnetic field sensors for medical diagnostics

27.05.2016 | Awards Funding

Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

New Model of T Cell Activation

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>