Preeclampsia: From epidemiological observations to molecular mechanisms

P. López-Jaramillo, J. P. Casas, N. Serrano

Research output: Articles / NotesScientific Articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Preeclampsia is the main cause of maternal mortality and is associated with a five-fold increase in perinatal mortality in developing countries. In spite of this, the etiology of preeclampsia is unknown. The present article analyzes the contradictory results of the use of calcium supplementation in the prevention of preeclampsia, and tries to give an explanation of these results. The proposal of an integrative model to explain the clinical manifestations of preeclampsia is discussed. In this proposal we suggest that preeclampsia is caused by nutritional, environmental and genetic factors that lead to the creation of an imbalance between the free radicals nitric oxide, superoxide and peroxynitrate in the vascular endothelium. The adequate interpretation of this model would allow us to understand that the best way of preventing preeclampsia is the establishment of an adequate prenatal control system involving adequate antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation, adequate diagnosis and early treatment of asymptomatic urinary and vaginal infections. The role of infection in the genesis of preeclampsia needs to be studied in depth because it may involve a fundamental change in the prevention and treatment of preeclampsia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1235
Number of pages9
JournalBrazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium supplementation
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Preeclampsia


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