The role of amyloid in pre-eclampsia

Dr Fergus McCarthy, Professor Lucilla Poston, Dr Carolyn Gill, Professor Lucy Chappell, Mr Paul Seed, Professor Guillermina Girardi, Dr Kate Bramham

Scientists are working to see if unusual amyloid proteins could be used to predict pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia is difficult to predict. However, recent research has shown that an unusual type of protein called amyloid has been found in the urine of women with pre-eclampsia. Amyloid proteins have structures that are very different to most proteins.

This project looked at whether amyloid protein is only found in women with pre-eclampsia, or if it is also present in other medical conditions that affect the kidneys.

We found that the protein also exists in the urine of pregnant and non-pregnant women with kidney disease, so simply testing urine for amyloid protein may not help us tell when a woman has pre-eclampsia.

The next step will be to find out if the structure and composition of this protein differs in these conditions, to see whether this could help predict pre-eclampsia. 

These results confirm that further research is needed to explore the use of amyloid testing as a marker of pre-eclampsia.

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This study takes place in a Tommy's centre and is supported by Tommy's, the National Institute for Health Research and the Academy of Medical Sciences

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