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New finding may help explain development of preeclampsia
Date:2/8/2008

n 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 placentas blood supply to develop may also be regulated by the increase in Ang II.


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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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