Using modern, genome-wide screening and data analysis, researchers at the University of Nottingham pinpointed a feature of babies’ DNA that can increase mothers’ risk of developing pre-eclampsia. The study found DNA variations close to the gene that makes a protein called sFlt-1 that increase the risk of the condition. At high levels, sFlt-1 released from the placenta into the mother’s bloodstream can injure blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure, kidney, liver or brain damage (all features of pre-eclampsia). Researchers hope that the study will lead to more effective prevention and treatment of pre-eclampsia.
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