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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jun;88(6):2393-8.

Insulin resistance and its potential role in pregnancy-induced hypertension.

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  • 1Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


New-onset hypertension (which includes preeclampsia and gestational hypertension) is a common and morbid complication of pregnancy. Many features of the insulin resistance syndrome have been associated with this condition. These include hypertension, hyperinsulinemia, glucose intolerance, obesity, and lipid abnormalities. Other accompanying abnormalities may include elevated levels of leptin, TNFalpha, tissue plasminogen activator, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, and testosterone. The documentation of these features before the onset of hypertension in pregnancy suggests that insulin resistance or associated abnormalities may have a role in this disorder. Furthermore, the recognition that features of the insulin resistance syndrome persist many years after pregnancy among women with this condition raises the possibility that these women may have increased risk for future cardiovascular disease. These observations suggest that interventions to reduce insulin resistance may reduce the risk of both hypertension in pregnancy and later life cardiovascular complications, and warrant further study.

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