Circulating transcripts in maternal blood reflect a molecular signature of early-onset preeclampsia

Sarah Munchel, Suzanne Rohrback, Carlo Randise-Hinchliff, Sarah Kinnings, Shweta Deshmukh, Nagesh Alla, Catherine Tan, Amirali Kia, Grainger Greene, Linda Leety, Matthew Rhoa, Scott Yeats, Matthew Saul, Julia Chou, Kimberley Bianco, Kevin O'Shea, Emmanuel Bujold, Errol Norwitz, Ronald Wapner, George SaadeFiona Kaper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Circulating RNA (C-RNA) is continually released into the bloodstream from tissues throughout the body, offering an opportunity to noninvasively monitor all aspects of pregnancy health from conception to birth. We asked whether C-RNA analysis could robustly detect aberrations in patients diagnosed with preeclampsia (PE), a prevalent and potentially fatal pregnancy complication. As an initial examination, we sequenced the circulating transcriptome from 40 pregnancies at the time of severe, early-onset PE diagnosis and 73 gestational age-matched controls. Differential expression analysis identified 30 transcripts with gene ontology annotations and tissue expression patterns consistent with the placental dysfunction, impaired fetal development, and maternal immune and cardiovascular system dysregulation characteristic of PE. Furthermore, machine learning identified combinations of 49 C-RNA transcripts that classified an independent cohort of patients (early-onset PE, n = 12; control, n = 12) with 85 to 89% accuracy. C-RNA may thus hold promise for improving the diagnosis and identification of at-risk pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaaz0131
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number550
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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