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1.  Maternal Arterial Stiffness in Women Who Subsequently Develop Pre-Eclampsia 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e18703.
Pre-eclampsia (PE) is associated with profound changes in the maternal cardiovascular system. The aim of the present study was to assess whether alterations in the maternal arterial stiffness precede the onset of PE in at risk women.
Methodology/Principal Findings
This was a cross sectional study involving 70 pregnant women with normal and 70 women with abnormal uterine artery Doppler examination at 22–24 weeks of gestation. All women had their arterial stiffness (augmentation index and pulse wave velocity of the carotid-femoral and carotid-radial parts of the arterial tree) assessed by applanation tonometry in the second trimester of pregnancy, at the time of the uterine artery Doppler imaging. Among the 140 women participating in the study 29 developed PE (PE group) and 111 did not (non-PE group). Compared to the non-PE group, women that developed PE had higher central systolic (94.9±8.6 mmHg vs 104.3±11.1 mmHg; p = <0.01) and diastolic (64.0±6.0 vs 72.4±9.1; p<0.01) blood pressures. All the arterial stiffness indices were adjusted for possible confounders and expressed as multiples of the median (MoM) of the non-PE group. The adjusted median augmentation index was similar between the two groups (p = 0.84). The adjusted median pulse wave velocities were higher in the PE group compared to the non-PE group (carotid-femoral: 1.10±0.14 MoMs vs 0.99±0.11 MoMs; p<0.01 and carotid-radial: 1.08±0.12 MoMs vs 1.0±0.11 MoMs; p<0.01).
Increased maternal arterial stiffness, as assessed by pulse wave velocity, predates the development of PE in at risk women.
PMCID: PMC3086903  PMID: 21559278
2.  Endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene polymorphism (Glu298Asp) and development of pre-eclampsia: a case-control study and a meta-analysis 
Pre-eclampsia is thought to have an important genetic component. Recently, pre-eclampsia has been associated in some studies with carriage of a common eNOS gene Glu298Asp polymorphism, a variant that leads to the replacement of glutamic acid by aspartic acid at codon 298.
Healthy women with singleton pregnancies were recruited from 7 district general hospitals in London, UK. Women at high risk of pre-eclampsia were screened by uterine artery Doppler velocimetry at 22–24 weeks of gestation and maternal blood was obtained to genotype the eNOS Glu298Asp polymorphism. Odds ratios (OR) and 95%CI, using logistic regression methods, were obtained to evaluate the association between the Glu298Asp polymorphism and pre-eclampsia. A meta-analysis was then undertaken of all published studies up to November 2005 examining the association of eNOS Glu298Asp genotype and pre-eclampsia.
89 women with pre-eclampsia and 349 controls were included in the new study. The Glu298Asp polymorphism in a recessive model was not significantly associated with pre-eclampsia (adjusted-OR: 0.83 [95%CI: 0.30–2.25]; p = 0.7). In the meta-analysis, under a recessive genetic model (1129 cases & 2384 controls) women homozygous for the Asp298 allele were not at significantly increased risk of pre-eclampsia (OR: 1.28 [95%CI: 0.76–2.16]; p = 0.34). A dominant model (1334 cases & 2894 controls) was associated with no increase of risk of pre-eclampsia for women carriers of the Asp298 allele (OR: 1.12 [95%CI: 0.84–1.49]; p = 0.42).
From the data currently available, the eNOS Glu298Asp polymorphism is not associated with a significant increased risk of pre-eclampsia. However, published studies have been underpowered, much larger studies are needed to confirm or refute a realistic genotypic risk of disease, but which might contribute to many cases of pre-eclampsia in the population.
PMCID: PMC1431561  PMID: 16542455

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