High levels of particular protein associated with pre-eclampsia

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 13, 2006

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A protein implicated in the progression of several cancers also might play a role in the development of pre-eclampsia, according to a paper presented this month at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine annual meeting in Miami.

Researchers analyzed archived placental tissue for the expression of HtrA1. The protein tends to increase during the course of a normal pregnancy, but this study found that in those who develop severe pre-eclampsia, it is markedly upregulated.

Scientists have been looking for a test to predict which women will develop this condition, and the authors hoped their data eventually will lead to just such an advance.

"The initial results are really encouraging, because the cause of this serious complication of pregnancy has not been well-understood," said Brian Brost, MD, senior author and a high-risk pregnancy specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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