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ELABELA deficiency promotes preeclampsia and cardiovascular malformations in mice

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Science  18 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6352, pp. 707-713
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam6607

Modeling a pregnancy disorder

Preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy disorder marked by high blood pressure, can lead to premature birth and be life-threatening to the mother and baby. Research leading to effective treatments has been hampered by a lack of informative animal models. Ho et al. identified ELABELA as a hormone produced by the placenta whose levels are lower in preeclampsia (see the Perspective by Wirka and Quertermous). ELABELA-deficient pregnant mice showed clinical signs of preeclampsia, including high blood pressure and elevated urine protein. A proportion of embryos lacking ELABELA displayed defective heart development, and full-term pups had low birth weights.

Science, this issue p. 707; see also p. 643

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