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Eur J Hum Genet. 2013 Sep;21(9):1024-6. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2013.6. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

A follow-up linkage study of Finnish pre-eclampsia families identifies a new fetal susceptibility locus on chromosome 18.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Pre-eclampsia is a common vascular disorder of pregnancy. It originates in the placenta and targets the maternal endothelium. According to epidemiological research, >50% of the liability to this disorder can be accounted for by genetic factors. Both maternal and fetal genes contribute to the risk, but especially the fetal genetic risk profile is still poorly understood. We have previously detected linkage signals in multiplex Finnish families on chromosomes 2p25, 4q32, and 9p13 using maternal phenotypes. We performed a linkage analysis using updated maternal phenotypes and an unprecedented linkage analysis using fetal phenotypes. Markers genotyped were available from 237 individuals in 15 Finnish families, including 72 affected mothers and 49 affected fetuses. The MERLIN software was used for sample and marker quality control and linkage analysis. The results were compared against the original ones obtained by using the GENEHUNTER 2.1 software. The previous identification of the maternal susceptibility locus to a genetic location at 21.70 cM near marker D2S168 on chromosome 2 was confirmed by using both maternal and fetal phenotypes (maternal non-parametric linkage (NPL) score 3.79, P=0.00008, LOD (logarithm (base 10) of odds)=2.20 and fetal NPL score 2.95, P=0.002, LOD=1.71). As a novel finding, we present a suggestive linkage to chromosome 18 at 86.80 cM near marker D18S64 (NPL score 2.51, P=0.006, LOD=1.20) using the fetal phenotype. We propose that chromosome 18 may harbor a new fetal susceptibility locus for pre-eclampsia.

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