Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Therapy Studied For Preeclampsia: New Clues To Mysterious Pregnancy Condition

Date:
January 20, 2009
Source:
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Summary:
To better understand preeclampsia, a sudden rise in maternal blood pressure and onset of kidney disease during pregnancy, researchers are studying mice that have the same affliction. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of both maternal and fetal death — killing more than 500,000 women worldwide each year and causing 15 percent of all premature births — yet the condition is not well understood.

To better understand preeclampsia, a sudden rise in maternal blood pressure and onset of kidney disease during pregnancy, researchers from Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medical College are studying mice that have the same affliction. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of both maternal and fetal death — killing more than 500,000 women worldwide each year and causing 15 percent of all premature births — yet the condition is not well understood.

Related Articles


Dr. Robin Davisson, Dr. Shari Gelber, and their team of researchers have developed an experimental gene therapy technique that lessens preeclampsia in mice, with the hope of someday applying their promising findings to humans. Dr. Davisson is a professor of cell and developmental biology at Weill Cornell Medical College and professor of molecular physiology at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Shari Gelber is a clinical fellow in maternal-fetal medicine in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

To test their therapy, Dr. Davisson and Dr. Gelber have identified a type of mouse, called the BPH/5 mouse, that demonstrates features similar to those seen in humans with preeclampsia.

They have observed that these mice have a blood pressure spike late in the second trimester or early in the third trimester of pregnancy, as well as high protein found in the urine because of impaired kidney function — all of which mimic the clinical signs of preeclampsia in humans. They also have smaller litters of pups, both in number and in birth weight.

Currently, it is a mystery as to who is at a greater risk for preeclampsia, because the disease does not show symptoms until late in gestation. What experts do know is that there is a shallow invasion, or weak connection, between the placenta and the mother's uterus — which is also seen in the BPH/5 mice. The research team is studying the BPH/5 mice with the hope of understanding the disease in early gestation, and to test a gene therapy technique that boosts a growth factor and improves blood circulation between the mother and fetus.

To administer the gene therapy, Dr. Davisson and her colleagues have injected mice with a harmless virus that contains a gene that, when taken up by the body, raises secretions of VEGF endothelial growth factor. The molecule helps blood vessel growth in the placenta, creating a better connection between the mother and fetus. The research team was encouraged to find that the experimental mice did not have a blood pressure spike or high levels of protein in the urine, compared with normal mice that received a virus injection that lacked the VEGF-producing gene. The experimental mice also have more normal litter sizes and the mouse pups weigh more.

During pregnancy, a preeclamptic mother suffers from elevated blood pressure, which can develop into eclampsia, causing stroke, liver failure, internal bleeding, postpartum hemorrhage, seizure, coma and death. The only known way to treat the condition is to deliver the fetus, usually before term. There is a risk of fetal death and low birth weight, which raises the risk of childhood seizures, blindness and pediatric asthma.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College. "Gene Therapy Studied For Preeclampsia: New Clues To Mysterious Pregnancy Condition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116152323.htm>.
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College. (2009, January 20). Gene Therapy Studied For Preeclampsia: New Clues To Mysterious Pregnancy Condition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116152323.htm
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College. "Gene Therapy Studied For Preeclampsia: New Clues To Mysterious Pregnancy Condition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116152323.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins