Published on April 16, 2012 at 8:09 AM
"The present work is unique because it opens up a new concept as to the cause and subsequent consequences of preeclampsia relating to epigenetics," said corresponding author Scott W. Walsh, Ph.D. , professor in the VCU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology . "It is the first study to show that epigenetic alterations in the blood vessels of the mother are related to preeclampsia."
According to Walsh, one of the main epigenetic mechanisms is methylation of the DNA, which controls the expression of genes. The increase of this enzyme in the blood vessels is related to reduced DNA methylation and the infiltration of neutrophils into the blood vessels. Neutrophils are white blood cells that normally help fight infection.
In the future, Walsh said some potential treatments for preeclampsia may include inhibition of thromboxane synthase, blockade of thromboxane receptors or dietary supplementation with folate. He said that folate supplementation could increase methylation donors to protect against adverse changes in DNA methylation that affect expression of the thromboxane synthase enzyme.
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University