The Aspirin Response of Two Genes may Indicate Risk of Complications in Pregnant Women with Lupus
New research finds that the presence of two genes (PBX1 and MMD) in the second trimester may be associated with a higher risk of preterm birth and preeclampsia among women with lupus taking aspirin during pregnancy. The two genes may be associated with functioning of platelets (a component of blood responsible for blood clotting) in response to aspirin. Therefore, these genes may play a role in the high rate of preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and organ system damage) and preterm birth among women with lupus, despite aspirin therapy.
In a group of 23 pregnancies, gene expression in the second and third trimesters was analyzed. Platelet count tended to be higher in the second trimester in pregnancies with preterm birth or preeclampsia, and PBX1 and MMD genes were elevated in pregnancies with poor outcomes as well. However, a global test found that the 60-gene aspirin response signature gene expression was not significantly higher in women who experienced those pregnancy complications.
Women with lupus experience pregnancy complications at a higher rate than women in the general population, with increased risk of preeclampsia and preterm birth. It is recommended that women at high risk for preeclampsia take aspirin (81 mg) a day, including all women with lupus. This study suggests that an insufficient platelet response to aspirin may underlie a higher risk of preeclampsia despite taking aspirin. Further work is needed to determine the role of genes (PBX1 and MMD) in identifying women with lupus at high risk for these conditions.
It's important to consult your doctor before changing your medication plan. Learn about planning a pregnancy with lupus.