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High blood pressure in pregnancy 'could be genetic'
Slight changes in how genes are expressed may explain why some women experience high blood pressure during pregnancy.
According to new maternal and newborn health research from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, genetic changes can also lead to an increased susceptibility to blood clots in expectant mothers with preeclampsia.
The research was conducted to find the molecular causes of preeclampsia and scientists believe that the epigenetic discoveries made could lead to new treatments that improve blood flow to the internal organs of pregnant women.
Corresponding author Scott Walsh said: "The present work is unique because it opens up a new concept as to the cause and subsequent consequences of preeclampsia relating to epigenetics."
The genes involved code for the production of thromboxane synthase, which starts a metabolic pathway that leads to high blood pressure and subsequent strokes.
Dr Walsh explained that by inhibiting this enzyme, doctors could reduce the risk complications associated with pregnancy.
Posted by Martine Ward