Pre-eclampsia is the most common serious medical disorder of human pregnancy. The human endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene is a candidate for pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (PE/E) susceptibility. A linkage study was performed on Australian PE/E families using 25 microsatellite markers from chromosome 7, one of which (eNOS-CA) resides within the eNOS gene. No significant linkage was found for the eNOS-CA marker using either parametric or non-parametric analysis. However, D7S1805 from the eNOS gene region on 7q36, gave a suggestion of linkage using parametric analysis (maximum LOD score = 2.143 at θ = 0.14) and non-parametric APM analysis (T(1/sqrt(p)) = 3.53; P = 0.002). Further, an association study was performed on unrelated PE/E cases and controls from both Chinese and Australian populations to test for a relationship between the eNOS gene and PE/E. No association was found between the eNOS-CA marker and PE/E in either population. However, there was a significant difference in the allelic distribution of eNOS-CA between the two ethnic groups. The linkage results support the possibility that a susceptibility locus for preeclampsia resides in the 7q36 region, however, there is no definitive evidence to support the notion that the eNOS gene itself is responsible for susceptibility to pre-eclampsia.
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