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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Genes Save Lives Of Mother And Baby

October 27, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Genetic factors increase susceptibility of pregnancy disorders, such as miscarriage, preeclampsia, and fetal growth restriction. These disorders are detrimental to both baby and mother, but with better understanding of the genetics involved these problems could be solved.

A successful pregnancy begins with the invasion of the lining of the uterus by fetal cells, called trophoblasts, which become the main cell type of the placenta. Inadequate trophoblast invasion of the uterus lining is believed to cause recurrent miscarraige, preeclampsia, and fetal growth restriction. Interactions between HLA-C molecules on the fetal trophoblasts and KIRs on the maternal uterine NK cells are key to determining to extent of trophoblast invasion. Previous data from the lab of Ashley Moffett, the author of this study, at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom indicated that a particular combination of fetal HLA-C and maternal KIR was associated with increased risk of preeclampsia.

In this study, the team has extended this correlation to recurrent miscarriage and fetal growth restriction. They have determined that the presence of other maternal KIRs that combine with the same HLA-C molecule provides protection against the same common disorders of pregnancy.

SOURCE: JCI, published online October 25, 2010