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Molecular Epidemiology of Preeclampsia

Wilson, Melissa L. MPH*; Murphy Goodwin, Thomas MD; Pan, Vivien L. MD; Ann Ingles, Sue Dr PH

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: January 2003 - Volume 58 - Issue 1 - p 39-66

Numerous articles have been published that address the possible genetic influences on the development of preeclampsia (PE). However, to our knowledge, a complete review of the results has not yet been completed. We undertook a MEDLINE search to identify English-language articles published after January 1, 1990 that examined the possible role of specific genes in the etiology of PE. After a brief introduction and a concise review of the prevailing etiologic hypotheses, we have categorized the candidate genes into six categories, based on their hypothesized role in PE etiology. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature, comment on its quality, and provide a reference for researchers interested in the molecular epidemiology of preeclampsia.

Target Audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians

Learning Objectives: After completion of this article, the reader will be able to list the prevailing etiologic hypotheses of preeclampsia, to outline the published data on possible genetic influence on the development of preeclampsia, and to clearly state the definition of preeclampsia.

*Research Assistant and PhD Candidate, ¶Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Co-Director, Program in Molecular Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine, and ‡Fellow and Clinical Instructor, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine; and †Chief, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, University of Southern California Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, California

Reprint requests to: Sue Ann Ingles, Dr PH, USC/Norris Cancer Center, Room 6419, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, MS 44, Los Angeles, CA 90089. Email:

The authors have disclosed no significant financial or other relationship with any commercial entity.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.