Characterisation of novel TAC3 and TACR3 gene variants and polymorphisms in patients with pre-eclampsia

Stolk, Megan (2007-03)

Thesis (MSc (Genetics))—University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


In South Africa, pre-eclampsia is the second highest cause of maternal deaths. The incidence of this disease in the Western Cape alone is 6.8% and places a large burden of health care facilities. The placenta and implantation thereof is thought to play the most significant role in the onset of this disease. Among the many theories for its aetiology, is the acknowledged two - stage theory. This is based on evidence that pre-eclamptic placentas demonstrate altered remodelling and invasion into the uterine endometrium and myometrium. The sub-optimal endometrium invasion leads to less oxygenation of the placental environment causing transient hypoxia. Consequently, the placenta is thought to release unknown factors into the maternal circulation which then culminates in clinical features associated with pre-eclampsia. Neurokinin B is thought to be one of these placental factors and subsequently binds to the NKB receptor in the maternal system. Endothelium-derived nitric oxide synthase has recently been shown to activate this receptor. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of neurokinin B (TAC3) and the neurokinin B receptor (TACR3) genes in the predisposition of pre-eclampsia and their interaction with eNOS in the South African coloured population together with a matched control cohort.

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