The role of antioxidant vitamins in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
Preeclampsia (PE) is an important and a leading cause of both maternal morbidity and adverse perinatal outcomes. Despite progress in perinatal medicine for patients with an established diagnosis of PE, a therapeutic approach other than termination of pregnancy was unsuccessful. Women predisposed to PE begin pregnancy with a certain degree of endothelial dysfunction, a lesion that precedes shallow placentation. The proposed sequence of events comprises endothelial dysfunction, defective trophoblast invasion, and consequential impaired placental perfusion, immune maladaptation and inflammation. The possible link between these could be oxidative stress by excessive production of reactive oxygen species coupled with inadequate or overwhelmed antioxidant defense mechanisms. These defense mechanisms, involving antioxidant vitamins and enzyme systems, may restrain the extent of damage caused by oxidative stress. Markers of oxidative stress in women with established PE were confirmed. Accordingly, these findings support an expected beneficial effect of antioxidant therapy in the prevention of PE and other pregnancy-related disorders. Numerous studies have been carried out in order to investigate this possible and simple prophylactic and/or therapeutic approach in prevention of oxidative stress and eventual reduction of PE and its perinatal complications. In this review the role of vitamin antioxidants in prevention and treatment of PE is discussed. Despite the logic behind using antioxidant vitamins, the data, thus far, are at best conflicting.
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