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What causes preeclampsia and eclampsia?

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The causes of preeclampsia and eclampsia are not known. These disorders previously were believed to be caused by a toxin in the blood (referred to as toxemia), but health care providers now know that is not true.

To learn more about preeclampsia and eclampsia, scientists are investigating many factors that could contribute to the development and progression of these diseases, including:

  • Placental abnormalities, such as insufficient blood flow
  • Genetic factors
  • Environmental exposures
  • Nutritional factors
  • Maternal immunology and autoimmune disorders
  • Cardiovascular and inflammatory changes
  • Hormonal imbalances

Last Reviewed: 06/18/2013
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology