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Clin Exp Immunol. 1996 Apr;104(1):154-9.

Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) gene polymorphism and expression in pre-eclampsia.

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The William Harvey Research Institute, St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College, University of London, UK.


Pre-eclampsia is an endothelial disorder and TNF-alpha has fundamental effects on endothelial cells by several means, including altering the balance between oxidant and anti-oxidant, changing the pattern of prostaglandin production and affecting expression of several cell surface components. To determine whether TNF-alpha mRNA expression is increased in pre-eclamptic patients, leucocytes from pre-eclamptic patients, normal pregnant women and normal non-pregnant women were studied for TNF-alpha expression using a quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Using a model of 373A ABI Sequencer, TNF-alpha gene polymorphism was also analysed by GENESCAN and Genotyper software in order to explain the mechanism of abnormal TNF-alpha expression. Our results show that TNF-alpha mRNA expression is significantly elevated in pre-eclamptic patients compared with the other two control groups. The high expression of TNF-alpha may be associated with the TNF1 allele, whose frequency is markedly increased in pre-eclamptic patients. These observations are consistent with a major role for TNF-alpha in mediating endothelial disturbances, and suggest a key role for TNF-alpha in the development of pre-eclampsia.

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