Genetic variants in pre-eclampsia: a meta-analysis

A. J. Buurma*, R. J. Turner, J. H. M. Driessen, A. L. Mooyaart, J. W. Schoones, Jan A. Bruijn, Kitty W. M. Bloemenkamp, Olaf M. Dekkers, H. J. Baelde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Pre-eclampsia has a clear familial component, suggesting that the condition may be partly attributable to genetic susceptibility. The search for susceptibility genes has led to a drastic increase in the number of published studies associating genetic factors with pre-eclampsia. However, attempts to replicate these findings have yielded inconsistent results. This meta-analysis assessed the pooled effect of each genetic variant that is reproducibly associated with pre-eclampsia. Studies that assessed the association between genes and pre-eclampsia were searched in PubMed, Embase and Web of Science. We selected all genetic variants that were significantly associated with pre-eclampsia in an initial study and were subsequently independently reproduced in at least one additional study. All studies that assessed these reproduced variants were then included. The association between genetic variants and pre-eclampsia was calculated at the allele level, and the main measure of effect was a pooled odds ratio in a random-effects model. The literature search yielded 2965 articles, of which 542 investigated genetic associations in pre-eclampsia. We identified 22 replicated genetic variants, of which 7 remained significantly associated with pre-eclampsia following meta-analysis. These variants were in or near the following genes: ACE, CTLA4, F2, FV, LPL and SERPINE1. This meta-analysis identified seven genetic variants associated with pre-eclampsia. Importantly, many of these variants are also risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, revealing that pre-eclampsia and cardiovascular disease have shared genetic risk factors. The contribution of the identified genetic variants in the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia should be the focus of future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-303
JournalHuman Reproduction Update
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • pre-eclampsia
  • genetic variants
  • risk factors
  • cardiovascular disease

Cite this