Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that the placentas of women who suffer preeclampsia during pregnancy have an overabundance of a gene associated with the regulation of the bodyâ€™s immune system.
â€œWhen we looked at the preeclampsic placentas, we found that several genes associated with a particular autoimmune pathway were â€˜upregulatedâ€™ â€“ basically, that there were more of them in placentas of preeclampsic women than in normal placentas,â€ Piedrahita says. "More specifically, we found the upregulation of a particular enzyme involved in sialic acid modification called SIAE. Sialic acid coats every cell in our body, making it possible for our immune system to distinguish â€˜selfâ€™ from â€˜not-self.â€™ If this process is disrupted, the body can end up attacking itself.â€
The researchers were excited by this finding because SIAE has recently been linked to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and type I diabetes.
Basically this small study supports the auto-immune theory of preeclampsia, and might help explain shallow placental implantation and the beginnings of the preeclampsia cascade.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news ... 08944.html
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