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Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2008;66(4):257-67. doi: 10.1159/000149575. Epub 2008 Aug 1.

Multifactorial etiology of recurrent miscarriage and its scientific and clinical implications.

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Fertility Clinic 4071, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


A considerable proportion of recurrent miscarriage (RM) cases are caused by recurrent chromosomally abnormal conceptions. However, in younger patients and patients with multiple miscarriages, maternal causes seem to dominate. No single biomarker with a high predictive value of maternally caused RM has been identified. Non-genetic biomarkers in RM may not reflect conditions in the pregnant uterus and we rarely know whether they are causes or consequences of miscarriage. Studies of genetic biomarkers are probably the best way to reveal the pathophysiological mechanisms behind RM. Epidemiological and genetic studies suggest that RM due to maternal causes has a multifactorial background. The risk of RM in each patient is probably determined by the interaction of many genetic variants and environmental factors but only few of these have so far been identified. The genetic biomarkers for RM can probably be classified into three groups: (1) variants associated with excessive inflammatory responses and autoimmunity; (2) variants of importance for insulin and androgen sensitivity and turn-over, and (3) variants associated with thrombophilia. Identification of these markers will require whole genome association studies comprising thousands of individuals. Acknowledgement of the multifactorial background for RM has important implications for the management of patients in clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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