Protecting Pregnancies

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Science  15 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6121, pp. 739
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6121.739-a

Preeclampsia is a dangerous complication of up to 5% of human pregnancies. The only treatment is removal of the fetoplacental unit by surgery or delivery. To better understand this condition, Doridot et al. generated a preeclampsia mouse model by overexpressing the transcription factor STOX1, which has previously been associated with preeclampsia. When control females were mated to transgenic males, the pregnant female mice showed characteristic features of preeclampsia, such as hypertension and protein in the urine. In addition, an elevated plasma level of soluble antiangiogenic factors was seen. When aspirin was administered early in the pregnancy via the drinking water, hypertension was prevented, as were elevated protein levels in the urine. An effect was also seen in the litter size: Control mice had slightly larger litters than their transgenic counterparts; however, with administration of aspirin, litter size was normalized. These results indicate that providing low doses of aspirin to preeclamptic mice early in gestation prevents disease development and suggests a potential means of human therapeutic intervention for this life-threatening condition.

Hypertension 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.202994 (2013).

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