A study of pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus has identified early changes in the RNA molecules present in the blood that could be used to determine the likelihood of them developing preeclampsia.
The study, which is published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, may also help researchers develop treatments to prevent other pregnancy complications associated with lupus, including miscarriage and premature birth.
Lupus carries an increased risk of developing complications during pregnancy; approximately one fifth of pregnant lupus patients develop problems ranging from preeclampsia to fetal death and preterm delivery.
"Early biomarkers are needed to help predict pregnancy outcome and inform treatments to decrease morbidity and mortality in lupus pregnancies," says co-senior author Virginia Pascual, the Drukier Director of the Drukier Institute for Children's Health at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
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