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.

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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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:
from the past week

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