Increased Risk of Preeclampsia in Women With a Genetic Predisposition to Elevated Blood Pressure

Anna Kivioja, Elli Toivonen, Jaakko Tyrmi, Sanni Ruotsalainen, Samuli Ripatti, Heini Huhtala, Tiina Jääskeläinen, Seppo Heinonen, Eero Kajantie, Juha Kere, Katja Kivinen, Anneli Pouta, Tanja Saarela, Hannele Laivuori

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Background: Preeclampsia causes significant maternal and perinatal morbidity. Genetic factors seem to affect the onset of the disease. We aimed to investigate whether the polygenic risk score for blood pressure (BP; BP-PRS) is associated with preeclampsia, its subtypes, and BP values during pregnancy. Methods: The analyses were performed in the FINNPEC study (Finnish Genetics of Pre-Eclampsia Consortium) cohort of 1514 preeclamptic and 983 control women. In a case-control setting, the data were divided into percentiles to compare women with high BP-PRS (HBP-PRS; >95th percentile) or low BP-PRS (≤5th percentile) to others. Furthermore, to evaluate the effect of BP-PRS on BP, we studied 3 cohorts: women with preeclampsia, hypertensive controls, and normotensive controls. Results: BP values were higher in women with HBP-PRS throughout the pregnancy. Preeclampsia was more common in women with HBP-PRS compared with others (71.8% and 60.1%, respectively; P=0.009), and women with low BP-PRS presented with preeclampsia less frequently than others (44.8% and 61.5%, respectively; P<0.001). HBP-PRS was associated with an increased risk for preeclampsia (odds ratio, 1.7 [95% CI, 1.1-2.5]). Furthermore, women with HBP-PRS presented with recurrent preeclampsia and preeclampsia with severe features more often. Conclusions: Our results suggest that HBP-PRS is associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia, recurrent preeclampsia, and preeclampsia with severe features. Furthermore, women with HBP-PRS present higher BP values during pregnancy. The results strengthen the evidence pointing toward the role of genetic variants associated with BP regulation in the etiology of preeclampsia, especially its more severe forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2008-2015
Number of pages8
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy
  • pregnancy complications

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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