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Mol Hum Reprod. 2012 Mar;18(3):146-55. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gar067. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Gene expression profiling of placentae from women with early- and late-onset pre-eclampsia: down-regulation of the angiogenesis-related genes ACVRL1 and EGFL7 in early-onset disease.

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Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


The underlying mechanisms behind the obstetric condition pre-eclampsia (PE) are still unclear. Manifestation of PE is heterogeneous and it has therefore been proposed to be a syndrome with different causes rather than one disease with a specific aetiology. Recently, we showed differences in circulating angiogenic factors between two subgroups-early- and late-onset PE. To further elucidate the differences between the two, we investigated placental gene expression profiles. Whole genome microarray technology and bioinformatic analysis were used to evaluate gene expression profiles in placentae from early- (24-32 gestational weeks, n = 8) and late-onset (36-41 gestational weeks, n = 7) PE. The results were verified by using quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR. We found significant differences in the expression of 196 genes in early- compared with late-onset PE, 45 of these genes showing a fold change above 2. Bioinformatic analysis revealed alterations in angiogenesis and regulation of cell motility. Two angiogenesis-associated transcripts (Egfl7 and Acvrl1) showed lower expression in early-onset PE versus late-onset PE (P = 0.037 and P = 0.003) and versus gestational age-matched controls (P = 0.007 and P = 0.011). We conclude that angiogenesis-associated genes are regulated in a different manner in the two subgroups, and that the gene expression profiles of early- and late-onset PE diverge, supporting the hypothesis of early- and late-onset PE being at least partly two separate entities.

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