Today's Clinical Lab - News, Editorial and Products for the Clinical Laboratory
Expectant mother checks her blood pressure with a wrist heart rate monitor at home.
The investigators tested whether levels of different proteins in the bloodstream influenced a woman’s risk of developing preeclampsia.
iStock, Antonio_Diaz

Circulating Proteins Linked to Preeclampsia Identified

The findings could provide clues into how the conditions arise and how they might be prevented or treated

Massachusetts General Hospital
Published:Jan 03, 2024
|1 min read
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify
0:00
5:00

BOSTON, MA — Preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which are characterized by high blood pressure with or without organ dysfunction during the second half of pregnancy, carry considerable short- and long-term risks for both the mother and child. Treatment options—other than expedited delivery—remain limited.

A team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Broad Institute recently identified several proteins with strong evidence of causal or protective roles for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which could provide clues into how the conditions arise and how they might be prevented or treated.

In the study, published in JAMA Cardiology and involved genetic data from more than 600,000 individuals, the investigators tested whether a genetic predisposition to higher or lower levels of different proteins in the bloodstream influenced a woman’s risk of developing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

The scientists identified six proteins involved in cardiovascular and inflammatory processes that likely contribute to or protect against these conditions. These included CD40, cystatin B, eosinophil cationic protein, galectin-3, heat shock protein 27, and N-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide.

“These findings provide new insights into the biology of the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, suggesting different pathways—such as blood vessel regulation, inflammation, and immunity—involved in the development of these diseases,” says senior author Michael C. Honigberg, MD, MPP, a cardiologist and researcher at MGH and an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Some of the proteins could serve as potential therapeutic targets and should be investigated further in animal models and ultimately, if promising, in human trials.”

- This press release is supported by the Massachusetts General Hospital