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Mystery behind Preeclampsia uncovered

Scientists have linked the rise in levels of S-nitrosoalbumin, a naturally occuring chemical found in the blood with Preeclampsia. This dangerous complication of pregnancy affects 10% of all first pregnancies. If untreated, this can worsen into a life threatening condition called Eclampsia in which a women has convulsive seizures during pregnancy. The research was led by Dr.Valerian E.Kagan of the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The investigators analyzed blood samples from 21 women who were diagnosed with preeclampsia and compared the results with samples from 21 healthy pregnant women and 12 non-pregnant women. Their findings are published in the June 8th issue of Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Normally, the body uses naturally produced nitric oxide (NO) to help keep blood vessels relaxed, which helps keep blood pressure in check in an effort to keep NO readily available, the body keeps a reserve of the chemical in the blood in the form of another chemical called S-nitrosoalbumin. In women with preeclampsia, the levels of S-nitrosoalbumin were 2 to 3 times higher than the other participances of the study. Also these women had low levels of vitamin C in their blood. Vitamin C helps break down the S-nitrosoalbumin to release nitric oxide into the bloodstream.

Dr. Kagan said future studies would focus on the possibilities of vitamin C reducing the risk of preeclampsia.

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