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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1989;68(2):145-8.

Pre-eclampsia--a mitochondrial disease?

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Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Tromsø, Norway.


Mitochondrial dysfunction is a newly found group of inborn errors of metabolism in which there is a failure in the aerobic energy production. Disorders of mitochondrial metabolism exhibit a wide range of clinical symptoms which are related to the nature, severity and tissue distribution of the metabolic defect. Most reported cases are published in the neurological literature. In this report we describe for the first time a family with mitochondrial dysfunction with a high incidence of pre-eclampsia/eclampsia. The diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder is verified by electronmicroscopic, electromyographic, histochemical and biochemical examinations. During pregnancy, the energy demand is increased due to both fetal and maternal requirements. A mitochondrial dysfunction, clinically symptomless in the non-pregnant state, may therefore become manifest during pregnancy. Characteristic features of pre-eclampsia such as disturbed ion transport, disturbed prostaglandin synthesis, vasoconstriction, platelet aggregation and hyperuricemia may be explained by mitochondrial dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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