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Dozen Genetic Loci Linked to Preeclampsia Risk in New GWAS

Researchers have uncovered more than a dozen novel genetic loci with ties to preeclampsia. Preeclampsia, which affects between three percent and five percent of pregnancies, leads to an increase in blood pressure and can progress to eclampsia and seizures. In a paper appearing in JAMA Cardiology, a University of Helsinki-led team conducted a genome-wide association study meta-analysis using data from four consortia: the Finnish Genetics of Preeclampsia Consortium, the Finnish FinnGen project, the Estonian Biobank, and the InterPregGen consortium. In their analysis, which included 16,743 women with prior preeclampsia and 15,200 with preeclampsia or another maternal hypertension, the researchers homed in on 19 loci with genome-wide significance, 13 of which were novel. Further, seven of the novel loci were located near genes previously implicated in blood pressure traits, while others were involved in placental development, kidney function, and proteostasis. "Although further functional studies are required in the future, these results offer valuable insights into the genetic architecture and biology behind preeclampsia as well as into the connection between preeclampsia and other maternal hypertensive disorders," the team writes.