The possible role of endogenous digitalis-like substance in the causation of pre-eclampsia
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
Digoxin levels have been reported in neonatal blood when neither the mother nor the baby had received digoxin. An endogenous digoxin-like substance (DLS) that may be causally related to hypertension has been described. Using a commercially available radio-immunoassay kit, we investigated the presence of an immunoreactive DLS in 21 pre-eclamptic mothers, 36 mothers with normal blood pressure (the control group) and their infants. We found mean DLS levels to be higher in cord blood from infants born to the pre-eclamptic mothers than in cord blood from those born to mothers in the control group. Levels were also higher in cord blood than in maternal blood in both the pre-eclamptic and the control groups. DLS seems to be associated with pre-eclampsia. Although further work is needed for verification, a hypothesis on the possible role of DLS in the causation of pre-eclampsia is presented.