New biomarkers could lead to urine test for preeclampsia
Scientists have identified potential biomarkers in the urine of pregnant women that could lead to a non-invasive testing for those with a serious and complex multisystem disorder called preeclampsia.
Scientists have identified potential biomarkers in the urine of pregnant women that could lead to a non-invasive testing for those with a serious and complex multisystem disorder called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia occurs in the second half of pregnancy and is characterised by high blood pressure and proteinuria - a significant increase in the normal level of protein in the urine.
Women with the condition suffer headaches, swelling, fainting, and other unpleasant and often dangerous symptoms. Ultimately, preeclampsia puts the health and life of an expectant mother and her baby at serious risk. The symptoms of the condition are ambiguous, so doctors rarely diagnose "pure" preeclampsia. But with the new research, things could soon change for the better.
"What is important is that this non-invasive method has proven effective - it can be used as a basis to develop a clinical method," said one of the authors of the study Evgeniy Nikolaev, Professor at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. From a doctor's point of view, one of the main symptoms of preeclampsia is a marked increase in the level of protein in the urine.
So the scientists wondered whether peptides (pieces of proteins) that are produced by women with preeclampsia could carry information about the disease. To identify potential peptide biomarkers, the researchers compared samples of three groups of ten women -- with a normal pregnancy, and with mild and severe preeclampsia.
The researchers were not only interested in comparing healthy women and patients with preeclampsia, they also wanted to examine how certain biomarkers are associated with the severity of the condition. Following the experiments, 35 potential peptide biomarkers of preeclampsia were identified.
A paper detailing the results was published in the Journal of Proteomics. "We were able to confirm a number of markers previously proposed by our colleagues abroad, and also identify some new ones. We will obviously need to verify and confirm their significance,” Nikolaev said.