Body Mass, Blood Pressure Relate to Pre-Eclampsia

Genetic predisposition is only part of the pre-eclampsia risk.

The risk of pre-eclampsia is related to blood pressure and body mass index, according to a study published in Nature Communications.

Pre-eclampsia affects up to 5% of pregnant women and contributes to the estimated deaths of 50,000 women and up to 1 million babies annually, according to the study. Additionally, the condition is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease among mothers and children later in life. Women with a family history of pre-eclampsia are at a greater risk of developing the condition themselves.

The study looked at the genetic make-up of 9515 pre-eclamptic women and 157,719 control individuals. Results pinpointed DNA variants in the ZNF831 and FTO genes as risk factors for pre-eclampsia.

According to the study, genetic predisposition to hypertension was found to be a major risk factor for preeclampsia. However, genetic predisposition explains only part of pre-eclampsia risk. Blood pressure related variants in the MECOM, FGF5, and SH2B3 genes are also associated with pre-eclampsia. These blood pressure related variants increase the risk of pre-eclampsia by 10% to 15%.

"The new insights from this study could form the basis for more effective prevention and treatment of pre-eclampsia in the future and improve the outcome of pregnancy for mother and child," said Fiona Broughton Pipkin, professor emeritus of Perinatal Physiology in the University of Nottingham, in a press release.

Insights provided by the study could provide the basis for more effective pre-eclampsia prevention and treatment in the future, which can help improve outcomes for both the mother and baby, according to the study.


Genetic study shows that the risk of pre-eclampsia is related to blood pressure and BMI [News Release] November 25, 2020; Nottingham, UK. Accessed December 3, 2020.