New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

New approach uses magnetic beads to treat preeclampsia

May 13, 2019
American Heart Association
A new proof of concept study shows that functionalized magnetic beads reduced blood levels of a harmful molecule by 40%, which doubled the effect of a different molecule that aids blood vessel function, opening new perspectives for the treatment of preeclampsia.

Preliminary laboratory tests show that functionalized magnetic beads successfully reduced blood levels of a harmful molecule that is elevated during preeclampsia, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy characterized by hypertension and kidney dysfunction that affects an estimated 6% -- 8% of women in the U.S. who give birth each year. Preeclampsia is responsible of severe complications for the mother (seizures, stroke, renal failure, liver dysfunction) and the infant (low birth weight, preterm delivery, stillbirth). The condition also increases a woman's risk for cardiovascular disease later in life (stroke and high blood pressure). Currently, there's no cure for preeclampsia, and only childbirth can alleviate symptoms.

Researchers focused on a molecule, called sFlt-1, which is released by the placenta into the woman's bloodstream and rises to high levels during preeclampsia. High levels of sFlt-1 are responsible for blood vessel wall dysfunction, contributing to high blood pressure and for trapping two other important molecules that enhance blood vessel wall function called VEGF and PIGF.

Using blood from women with preeclampsia, researchers conducted laboratory tests to see if magnetic beads could essentially drag sFlt-1 out of circulation, therefore freeing up levels of VEGF and PIGF. They found that magnetic beads reduced sFlt-1 by 40% and freed up to two times more PIGF, reducing the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio by 63 percent.

"This was a proof of concept study and our approach aims to restore physiologic levels of angiogenic factors," said lead study author Vassilis Tsatsaris, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Cochin Hospital in Paris. "The reduction of sFlt-1 and the release of angiogenic factors is very significant and promising."

Angiogenic factors is any of a group of substances present in the circulation -- most of which are polypeptides (i.e., angiogenin, fibroblast growth factor, transforming growth factors and some lipids) which help form blood vessels.

Based on the success of these early findings, Tsatsaris and his colleagues would like to expand their study and repeat these experiments to see if this approach can control preeclampsia and prolong pregnancy while reducing the risks of prematurity for the baby.

Story Source:

Materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Laura Trapiella-Alfonso, Lucile Alexandre, Camille Fraichard, Kelly Pons, Simon Dumas, Lucie Huart, Jean-François Gaucher, Marylise Hebert-Schuster, Jean Guibourdenche, Thierry Fournier, Michel Vidal, Isabelle Broutin, Laurence Lecomte-Raclet, Laurent Malaquin, Stéphanie Descroix, Vassilis Tsatsaris, Nathalie Gagey-Eilstein, Edouard Lecarpentier. VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) Functionalized Magnetic Beads in a Microfluidic Device to Improve the Angiogenic Balance in Preeclampsia. Hypertension, 2019; DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12380

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "New approach uses magnetic beads to treat preeclampsia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2019. <>.
American Heart Association. (2019, May 13). New approach uses magnetic beads to treat preeclampsia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 15, 2024 from
American Heart Association. "New approach uses magnetic beads to treat preeclampsia." ScienceDaily. (accessed April 15, 2024).

Explore More

from ScienceDaily