Familial associations in pre-eclampsia risk

8 November 2005

A population-based study published in the BMJ last month reports on the recurrence of pre-eclampsia across generations. Pre-eclampsia, or PE, is a common and serious hypertensive complication of pregnancy, which can cause significant mortality and morbidity for both mothers and babies; risk of the condition is influenced by family history. However, the genetic factors involved are complex. It has been recognised for many years that maternal susceptibility to the condition may be inherited, but more recently it has been discovered that fetal genes (inherited from either the mother or father) can also influence risk.

The authors of the new study set out to examine these two different pathways of familial risk transmission (via maternal and fetal susceptibility) by looking at birth data from a Norwegian population based birth registry, between the years 1967-2003 [Skj

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