Studies on the Single HLA-G Nucleotide Deletion in African American Women with Preeclamspia

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USU Student Showcase

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Anthony Torres


Preterm birth, defined as infants born before 37 weeks, is responsible for over 1 million deaths every year, making it one of the leading causes of newborn deaths (Blencowe et al, June 2012). Among the causes of preterm birth, preeclampsia is particularly prevalent. Preeclampsia is characterized by hypertension and proteinuria developed after 20 weeks into gestation. Preeclampsia commonly occurs worldwide(2-5%,Wallis et al, 2008), and is most prevalent in African American women (5.2%, Caughey et al, 2005).

Over the past few decades, studies have shown a relationship between preeclampsia and HLA-G, an immune function gene. A recent study focuses on a single nucleotide deletion that causes a frameshift in a coding region of HLA-G, namely 1597deltaC. This deletion results in a nonfunctional HLA-G protein, which is associated with an increase of preeclampsia (Hunt, et al, May 2005; Ober, et al, 1998). In a paper by Dagan Loisel and others, this deletion has been strongly correlated to the presence and severity of preeclampsia in African American women (Loisel et al, 2013). Our aim is to corroborate the trends observed in this study by identifying a correlation between African American preterm birth subjects and the presence of this HLA-G deletion. The subjects are taken from African American preterm women from the California Very Preterm Birth Study, a study that includes researchers in our laboratory.

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