Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centre have revealed that women with preeclampsia have higher levels of a peptide that increases blood pressure in the pieces of tissue linking mother and foetus.
Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure induced by pregnancy, affects 7 to 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States and is the second-leading cause of maternal mortality and also contributes towards pre-term delivery
The study was conducted on 21 women with the disorder and 25 women without it. The researchers took the tissue sections from the centre of the placenta for analysis after delivery.
They found that the levels of angiotensin II (Ang II), a hormone that compressed blood vessels and increased blood pressure increased by two fold in the area that linked mother and foetus and also supplied food and oxygen.
Lauren Anton, first author and a graduate student said that the finding may be part of the preeclampsia puzzle.
"Anything that gets us closer to understanding this disease is important because there is no treatment and no cure and women are still delivering babies too early," she said.
The researchers believe that the Ang II may restrict foetal vessels that increases the blood pressure and also lowers oxygen and nutrient flow to the baby that may lead to lower birth weight and other complications of preeclampsia
K. Bridget Brosnihan, Ph.D. senior researcher said that the findings revealed that the hormone played an important role in development of preeclampsia
The researchers hope that the findings may help in explaining the development of the disorder and may harbour the possibility of developing treatments for preeclampsia.
The findings are published online in the journal Hypertension.