Australian researchers discover a novel cause of preeclampsia


The journal ‘Hypertension’ recently published an article from the Embryo Implantation research team entitled ‘Galectin-7 impairs placentation and causes preeclampsia features in mice’.

The international collaboration led by Dr Ellen Menkhorst and Professor Eva Dimitriadis, identified galectin-7 as abnormally elevated in the early pregnancy placenta of women who subsequently develop preterm preeclampsia. Pregnant mice exposed to elevated galectin-7 developed classic symptoms of preeclampsia, including hypertension and elevated urinary protein. The study also identified that galectin-7 regulates key components of the renin-angiotensin system, a central hormone system which controls blood pressure which is dysregulated in preeclampsia. This research strongly suggests that elevated placental production of galectin-7 during early pregnancy contributes to abnormal placentation and altered renin-angiotensin system function which may lead to the development of preeclampsia.

The researchers hope that this research will lead to the identification of new treatment options to improve placentation and prevent preeclampsia.

The following people contributed to this research:

  • Dr Ellen Menkhorst (University of Melbourne/Royal Women’s Hospital)
  • Dr Wei Zhou (University of Melbourne/Royal Women’s Hospital)
  • Dr Leilani Santos (University of Melbourne/Royal Women’s Hospital)
  • Dr Sarah Delforce (University of Newcastle)
  • Ms Teresa So (University of Melbourne/Royal Women’s Hospital)
  • Ms Kate Rainczuk (Hudson Institute of Medical Research)
  • Dr Hannah Loke (Hudson Institute of Medical Research)
  • Dr Argyro Syngelaki (Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine)
  • Dr Swati Varshney (Bio21)
  • A/Prof Nicholas Williamson (Bio21)
  • A/Prof Kirsty Pringle (University of Newcastle)
  • Dr Morag Young (Hudson Institute of Medical Research)
  • Prof Kypros Nicolaides (Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine)
  • Prof Yves St-Pierre (INRS-Insitut Armand-Frappier)
  • Prof Eva Dimitriadis (University of Melbourne/Royal Women’s Hospital)

To read more about this exciting discovery please follow this link to Reproductive Health Australia.