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Womens Health (Lond). 2014 Nov;10(6):623-43. doi: 10.2217/whe.14.54.

Involvement of the heme oxygenase system in the development of preeclampsia and as a possible therapeutic target.

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Department of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.


The enzyme heme oxygenase (HO) is an important regulatory molecule present in most nucleated mammalian cells which functions to break down the pro-oxidant molecule heme into three products, carbon monoxide (CO), biliverdin and free iron. The HO system has been associated with many physiologic functions, including vascular tone, regulation of inflammation and apoptosis, angiogenesis and antioxidant capabilities. Deficiencies in HO are associated with several pregnancy disorders, including preeclampsia. With no present cure, this disorder continues to affect 5-7% of all pregnancies worldwide, leading to maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Researchers continue to strive for therapeutic potentials and this review will outline the possible use of the HO/CO system as a target treatment/prevention of preeclampsia in the future.


carbon monoxide; heme oxygenase; preeclampsia; pregnancy; sFLT1; statin therapy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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