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Functionalized Magnetic Beads Help Treat Preeclampsia

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 29 May 2019
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Image: The role of sFlt-1 in maternal preeclampsia (Photo courtesy of Vassilis Tsatsaris).
Image: The role of sFlt-1 in maternal preeclampsia (Photo courtesy of Vassilis Tsatsaris).
A new study suggests that using magnetic beads in a microfluidic device can improve the angiogenic balance in preeclampsia and enhance blood vessel wall function.

In a proof of concept study, researchers at Université Paris Descartes (France), Sorbonne University (Paris, France), Cochin Hôtel-Dieu Hospital (Paris, France), and other institutions functionalized magnetic beads with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in order to capture sFlt-1, a molecule released by the placenta into the woman's bloodstream that rises to high levels during preeclampsia, and which is responsible for blood vessel wall dysfunction by binding to VEGF and placental growth factor (PIGF).

Using a specific and competitive apheresis approach using a microfluidic device, magnetic beads were functionalized with VEGF from human trophoblastic cells, and characterized to evaluate their surface ligand density and recognition capabilities in order to capture sFlt-1, thus releasing endogenous PlGF and restoring the physiological angiogenic balance. Using blood from women with preeclampsia, the researchers showed that the magnetic beads reduced sFlt-1 by 40% and freed up twice as much PIGF, reducing the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio by 63%. The study was published on May 13, 2019, in Hypertension.

“Preeclampsia is a hypertensive pregnancy disease associated with a massive increase in sFlt-1 in the maternal circulation, responsible for angiogenic imbalance and endothelial dysfunction,” said lead author professor of obstetrics and gynecology Vassilis Tsatsaris, MD, PhD, of Cochin Hospital. “This was a proof of concept study and our approach aims to restore physiologic levels of angiogenic factors. The reduction of sFlt-1 and the release of angiogenic factors is very significant and promising.”

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy characterized by hypertension and kidney dysfunction that can cause severe complications for both the mother (including seizures, stroke, renal failure, and liver dysfunction) and the infant (such as low birth weight, preterm delivery, and stillbirth). The condition also increases a woman's risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life. Currently, there is no cure, and only childbirth can alleviate the symptoms. About 10 million pregnant women develop preeclampsia annually, causing approximately 500,000 fetal and neonatal and 76,000 maternal deaths.

Related Links:
Université Paris Descartes
Sorbonne University
Cochin Hôtel-Dieu Hospital

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