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New Research on Pre-Eclampsia in Mice May Have Important Implications for Humans
Date:7/28/2008

Team Supported by March of Dimes Publishes Findings in Nature Medicine

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a new March of Dimes-funded study of pre-eclampsia, a serious and potentially deadly disorder that affects about 5 percent of pregnancies, researchers have found results in mice that may have important implications for diagnosis and treatment in humans.

Yang Xia, M.D., Ph.D., and Rodney E. Kellems, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and Susan M. Ramin, M.D., Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, all at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, and colleagues report today in the journal Nature Medicine that they induced pre-eclampsia in mice by injecting them with certain human autoantibodies that have been found in women with pre-eclampsia. The mice showed multiple features of the disorder, including dangerously high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and placental abnormalities. Then the researchers gave the mice a substance that blocks the action of the autoantibodies; this prevented the development of pre-eclampsia. The investigators say they demonstrated an important pathway of pre-eclampsia as well as a potential new approach to diagnosis and treatment.

"Angiotensin receptor agonistic autoantibodies induce pre-eclampsia in pregnant mice" by Cissy C. Zhou, Yujin Zhang, Roxanna A. Irani, Hong Zhang, Tiejuan Mi, Edwina J. Popek, M. John Hicks, Susan M. Ramin, Rodney E. Kellems, and Yang Xia appeared on Nature Medicine's website on July 27, 2008. The digital object identifier (DOI) number for this paper is 10.1038/nm.1856.

Pre-eclampsia may require pre-term delivery (birth before 37 completed weeks gestation) to prevent severe complications to mother and baby, because delivery is the only cure for the disorder.

Preterm birth is a serious and costly health problem and the leading cause of death in the first month of life. More than a half mill
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SOURCE March of Dimes
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