Genes for elevated blood pressure contribute to pre-eclampsia risk

15 Jul 2022
Genes for elevated blood pressure contribute to pre-eclampsia risk

Genetic predisposition to high blood pressure appears to heighten the risks of pre-eclampsia, recurrent pre-eclampsia, and pre-eclampsia with severe features, a study has found.

The study used data from the FINNPEC study (Finnish Genetics of Pre-Eclampsia) and included a cohort of 1,514 pre-eclamptic women and 983 women without the condition (controls, 219 were hypertensive, and 764 were normotensive).

Of the women, 2,373 had low polygenic risk score for blood pressure (BP-PRS 5th percentile) while 124 had high BP-PRS (>95th percentile). Among women with pre-eclampsia, those with high BP-PRS had greater BP values throughout pregnancy compared with those with low BP-PRS.

Pre-eclampsia was more common among women with BP-PRS >95th percentile vs ≤95th percentile (71.8 percent vs 60.1 percent; p=0.009). At the same time, those with BP-PRS 5th percentile vs >5th percentile presented with pre-eclampsia less frequently (44.8 percent vs 61.5 percent; p<0.001).

High BP-PRS was associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia (odds ratio [OR], 1.7, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.1–2.5). Moreover, women with high BP-PRS were more likely to present with recurrent pre-eclampsia and pre-eclampsia with severe features.

The findings strengthen the evidence on the role of genetic variants associated with BP regulation in the aetiology of pre-eclampsia, especially its more severe forms.

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