Genes From Mom & Dad Tied to Preeclampsia
Link Stronger in Women, Norwegian Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Sept. 15, 2005 -- Preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening form of high
blood pressure during pregnancy, can run in families, a new study shows.
If untreated, preeclampsia can damage the mother's liver or kidneys, deprive
the fetus of oxygen, and cause maternal seizures (eclampsia).
Sons and daughters born from preeclampsia pregnancies may carry genes
related to the condition, according to the study, which appears in BMJ
The researchers who worked on the study included Rolv Skjaerven of the
Medical Birth Registry of Norway, a branch of the Norwegian Institute of Public
Like Mother, Like Child
Preeclampsia happens during pregnancy, so men don't experience it. But that
doesn't let them totally off the hook.
Men born from preeclampsia pregnancies are 50% more likely to father a
preeclampsia pregnancy than other men, the study shows.
That's a "moderately increased risk," write the researchers. They
note that the link appears to be stronger for women.
Women born from preeclampsia pregnancies are more than twice as likely to
have preeclampsia pregnancies, the researchers note.
The data came from Norway's medical birth registry, which includes every
baby born in Norway since 1967. That's more than 2 million babies.
Preeclampsia is most common in first-time pregnancies. Women who have
preeclampsia with their first pregnancy won't necessarily have preeclampsia
with later pregnancies.
The researchers took that into account. It didn't change their findings.
Then, the scientists took another look at the family tree. They wanted to
see if children born to women who had had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
were likely to have preeclampsia.
The answer was yes for girls and no for boys. Birth order didn't change
Sisters of babies born from preeclampsia pregnancies were twice as likely to
have preeclampsia as women with no family history of the condition.
Brothers of preeclampsia babies were as likely to father preeclampsia
pregnancies as men with no family preeclampsia history, the study shows.