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The compensatory alterations in the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) contribute to the salt-water balance and sufficient placental perfusion for the subsequent well-being of the mother and fetus during normal pregnancy and is characterized by an increase in almost all the components of RAAS. Preeclampsia, however, breaks homeostasis and leads to a disturbance of this delicate equilibrium in RAAS both for circulation and the uteroplacental unit. Despite being a major cause for maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, the pathogenesis of preeclampsia remains elusive, where RAAS has been long considered to be involved. Epidemiological studies have indicated that preeclampsia is a multifactorial disease with a strong familial predisposition regardless of variations in ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic features. The heritable allelic variations, especially the genetic polymorphisms in RAAS, could be the foundation for the genetics of preeclampsia and hence are related to the development of preeclampsia. Furthermore, at a posttranscriptional level, miRNA can interact with the targeted site within the 3'-UTR of the RAAS gene and thereby might participate in the regulation of RAAS and the pathology of preeclampsia. In this review, we discuss the recent achievements of genetic polymorphisms, as well as the interactions between maternal and fetal genotypes, and miRNA posttranscriptional regulation associated with RAAS in preeclampsia. The results are controversial but utterly inspiring and attractive in terms of potential prognostic significance. Although many studies suggest positive associations with genetic mutations and increased risk for preeclampsia, more meticulously designed large-scale investigations are needed to avoid the interference from different variations.


Jie Yang, Jianyu Shang, Suli Zhang, Hao Li, Huirong Liu. The role of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in preeclampsia: genetic polymorphisms and microRNA. Journal of molecular endocrinology. 2013 Apr;50(2):R53-66

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PMID: 23369849

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