Brain Complement and Preeclampsia

eIRB study # 15344, PI:  Kathleen Brookfield, MD, PhD 

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Preeclampsia is a common pregnancy disorder characterized by high blood pressure and inflammation. It affects 6-10% of all pregnant women and is life-threatening to both mother and child. Severe preeclampsia predisposes to immediate complications such as seizure, stroke, and stillbirth, but also increases lifetime risk for development of cardiovascular disease. While inflammation in the brain contributes to maternal harm in preeclampsia, the relationship between brain inflammation and heart health is not understood. Recent evidence suggest that immune factors (complement proteins) may stimulate inflammation in the brain, resulting in increased blood pressure and abnormal nerve activity in women with preeclampsia.

Trial Status:  open to enrollment

Why is this study being done?

We hypothesize that immune factors generate increased brain inflammation in women with preeclampsia, leading to increased blood pressure and abnormal nerve activity. To address our hypothesis we will compare immune proteins and inflammatory factors in pregnant women with hypertension or preeclampsia, compared to non-hypertensive pregnant women. In this study, we will assess whether immune and inflammatory factors are increased in spinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) in women with preeclampsia. We will also perform an assessment of maternal heart rate and blood pressure before and after delivery, to determine if brain inflammation negatively impacts maternal cardiovascular health.

The purpose of this study is:

Our long term goal is to determine how immune factors contribute to brain inflammation and cardiovascular health in women affected by preeclampsia.

Who is eligible to participate?

  • ≥18 years old
  • Singleton
  • Pregnant with gestational age between 23-42 weeks
  • Receiving care and planning delivery at OHSU

What is the compensation for this study?

No compensation.

Who do I contact for more information?

To find out more information and to see if you may qualify to participate, call the Pregnancy Research Unit at 503 494-8748.