Researchers develop new lab test for diagnosing preeclampsia
November 23, 2015
After observing how preeclampsia serum caused disruption to the spiral arteries, the team reasoned that preeclampsia serum might also disrupt the formation of vasculature in the lab. They created an in vitro culture of two key cell types involved in spiral artery development - endothelial cells and trophoblasts - and then exposed some to serum from women with normal pregnancies and some to preeclampsia serum from women taken at various stages of their pregnancies.
The researchers found that vasculature developed normally in the presence of serum from women with normal pregnancies. But they also found that preeclampsia serum taken from women as early as 12 to 14 weeks into their pregnancies, about 10 to 12 weeks before they were diagnosed with preeclampsia, was able to disrupt vascular formation.
Sharma has filed a patent application for the test and has continued to refine it for eventual clinical use, a process that will require FDA approval.
"The idea is that we can predict preeclampsia ahead of time and women can be treated," Sharma said. Researchers, for example, are looking at dysregulated proteins in preeclampsia serum for their causative effects and as one avenue of managing preeclampsia. The idea is that normal counterparts of these proteins will rescue normal pregnancy and protect against the onset of preeclampsia disease. "Hopefully, hopefully preeclampsia can be controlled," Sharma said.
Source: Brown University