Now, research being presented at the 13th World Congress of the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy by scientists from the Magee-Womens Research Institute and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine suggests even a mild deficiency in vitamin C appears to negatively affect vascular elasticity and function a key symptom of preeclampsia.
Research is closing in on this menace, said James M. Roberts, M.D., professor and chairman of research in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, director of the Magee-Womens Research Institute and president of the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy. But there is still much to do.
Carl A. Hubel, Ph.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and his colleagues studied arterial pressure and elasticity in pregnant and non-pregnant rats that, like humans, are unable to synthesize vitamin C.
Dr. Hubels group found that blood vessel stiffness increased in pregnant rats when vitamin C concentrations were restricted. Non-pregnant animals were not similarly affected by vitamin C restriction, however.
These results were observed despite a natural physiologic change initiated by pregnancy that typically increases blood vessel elasticity, which in turn affects blood pressure. While researchers have long known that vitamin C concentrations are decreased in women with preeclampsia, the specific effect on vascular function remains unclear, according to Dr. Hubel, who is also an investigator with t
Contact: Michele Baum
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center