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Hypertension. 2001 Feb;37(2):232-9.

Brief review: hypertension in pregnancy : a manifestation of the insulin resistance syndrome?

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Division of Women's Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), which includes both gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, is a common and morbid pregnancy complication for which the pathogenesis remains unclear. Emerging evidence suggests that insulin resistance, which has been linked to essential hypertension, may play a role in PIH. Conditions associated with increased insulin resistance, including gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and obesity, may predispose to hypertensive pregnancy. Furthermore, metabolic abnormalities linked to the insulin resistance syndrome are also observed in women with PIH to a greater degree than in normotensive pregnant women: These include glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hyperlipidemia, and high levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, leptin, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. These observations suggest the possibility that insulin resistance may be involved in the pathogenesis of PIH and that approaches that improve insulin sensitivity might have benefit in the prevention or treatment of this syndrome, although this requires further study.

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