Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure induced by pregnancy, affects 7 to 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States and is the second-leading cause of maternal mortality. It is the leading cause of pre-term delivery and contributes significantly to stillbirths and death in newborns.
The researchers found that in women with preeclampsia, levels of angiotensin II (Ang II), a hormone that constricts blood vessels and causes blood pressure to rise, was doubled in the chorionic villi, part of the placenta that links mother and fetus and supplies food and oxygen.
“This finding may be part of the preeclampsia puzzle,” said Lauren Anton, a graduate student who is first author on the research. “Anything that gets us closer to understanding this disease is important because there is no treatment and no cure and women are still delivering babies too early.”
The researchers theorize that Ang II may restrict the fetal vessels that lie within the chorionic villi, which not only raises blood pressure, but also lowers oxygen and nutrient flow to the baby and may result in lower birth weight and other complications of preeclampsia.
The study involved 21 women with preeclampsia and 25 women without the disorder. After delivery, tissue sections were taken from the center of the placenta for analysis.
Ang II is part of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) that regulates blood pressure. The system has been shown to play an important role in preeclampsia. However, changes in the system also occur in women who don’t develop the condition. In normal pregnancies, estrogen causes increased levels of several hormones, including Ang II, in the blood. Despite the increase of Ang II in the blood during pregnancy, most women do not develop preeclampsia.
This the first study to demonstrate that all three peptides involved in the RAS are found in the chorionic villi of both normal and preeclamptic women. And, it was the first to show that levels of Ang II are higher in the chorionic villi of women with preeclampsia.
“This implies that local tissues are contributing to the problem,” said K. Bridget Brosnihan, Ph.D., senior researcher, who has been studying preeclampsia for 12 years. “The hormone is remarkably elevated in this relatively small tissue, which implies that it has an important role in the development of preeclampsia.”
The researchers hope that the findings may one day lead to treatment for preeclampsia.
ACE inhibitor drugs are currently used to lower Ang II in non-pregnant women with hypertension, but these drugs cannot be given to pregnant women. The study authors suggest that other therapies aimed at regulating blood pressure might be beneficial if they target the chorionic villi rather than the system as a whole. They are currently working to determine if growth factors that cause the placenta’s blood supply to develop may also be regulated by the increase in Ang II.
Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
New model connects respiratory droplet physics with spread of Covid-19
21.07.2020 | University of California - San Diego
Risk of infection with COVID-19 from singing: First results of aerosol study with the Bavarian Radio Chorus
03.07.2020 | Klinikum der Universität München
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences