Now, Biomarkers Can Help Predict Pre-eclampsia
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29 November 2010
By Swati Shinde
Pregnant women worried about pre–eclampsia (pregnancy–induced hypertension) can now relax as scientists in the city have developed biomarkers to predict the condition and take preventive measures.
The breakthrough has been achieved by scientists at the Interactive Research School for Health Affairs (IRSHA) at the Bharati Vidyapeeth here. The study has also found recognition in popular international journals. The study is of great significance, given that preeclampsia (PE) is one of the most frequently encountered medical conditions that affects 8% to 10% pregnant women worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The study was undertaken jointly by the Department of Nutritional Medicine, IRSHA, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gy–naecology, Bharati Medical College and Hospital.
The condition is known to affect adversely both the mother and the unborn child. Savita Mehendale, professor emeritus, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, says, "Severe maternal complications like seizures, stroke, liver failure, renal failure due to acute tubular necrosis and death or foetal complications like prematurity and growth–restricted foetus or sudden foetal distress can happen due to PE."
In developing countries, where access to healthcare is limited, PE is a leading cause of maternal mortality, says WHO. The condition accounts for an estimated 60,000–odd maternal deaths worldwide each year.
Sadhana Joshi, head of the department of nutritional medicine, says, "The study carried out among 60–odd PE women and a similar number of normal women has found that reduced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and placental growth factor ( PlGF) levels and increased soluble fms–like tyrosine kinase–1 (sFlt–1) levels are seen in women with PE.
"For the first time, we have also studied the cause for the increase in these factors. We also found increase in the sFlt–1 to PlGF ratio in women with PE at the end of pregnancy," says Joshi.
The study has also seen significant contribution from Asmita Kul–karni, PhD student Hemlata Pisal and other team members of the Nutritional Medicine Group and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.