Austrian scientists identify gene involved in recurrent miscarriages

July 26, 2001

Women with a particular variation in a gene that controls the way that blood vessels function have a 60% greater risk of recurrent miscarriage, Professor Clemens Tempfer and colleagues from the University of Vienna School of Medicine report in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction.*

Nearly a fifth of all pregnancies end in miscarriages, but up to two per cent of women suffer recurrent miscarriages i.e. three or more consecutive pregnancy losses before 20 weeks. The research team has found evidence that a variation in a gene - NOS - which is known to be involved in synthesising nitric oxide, could be at least partly to blame.

They compared a group of 105 women who had all suffered recurrent spontaneous miscarriages with a carefully matched control group of 91 postmenopausal women who had never had a miscarriage and who had given birth at least twice.

"Nitric oxide has been implicated in blood vessel disease and damage and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is known to mediate vascular relaxation," said Professor Tempfer: "We found a significant difference in the genotype frequencies for one variation of the NOS3 gene between the study and control groups."

"This is evidence of a relationship between unexplained recurrent miscarriage and a gene, the product of which is already known to influence the way vascular smooth muscles behave. Given also the role that nitric oxide deficiency plays in high blood pressure, haemorrhage, vascular spasms and infarction, it's reasonable to speculate that carriers of an NOS3 polymorphism are at increased risk for impaired placental function. Displaying this polymorphism is not necessary or sufficient on its own for the development of unexplained recurrent miscarriages, but our data indicate that it does confer a small (1.6-fold) but significantly increased risk.

Professor Tempfer concluded that the findings also added further evidence that endothelium-derived nitric oxide plays a mediating role in early pregnancy. "Identifying a link between unexplained recurrent miscarriages and a specific variant of a gene involved in the regulation of placental function and the stability of the vascular 'environment' is going to give us further insight into this syndrome and more information about susceptible women," he said.
* Endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene polymorphism in women with idiopathic recurrent miscarriage. Human Reproduction Vol 16. No 8. pp 1644-1647.


1 PDF version of this press release and full embargoed text of the paper with complete results and participating research teams, can be found from 09.00hrs BST Wednesday 25 July on website:

2 Human Reproduction is a monthly journal of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). Please acknowledge Human Reproduction as a source. ESHRE's website is:

3 Printed texts available on request from Dr Helen Beard, Managing Editor. Tel: 44-0-1954-212404 email:

Contact until 27 July:
Margaret Willson (media relations officer) Tel: 44-0-1536-772181, Fax: 44-0-1536-772191, Mobile: 07973-853347 Home tel: 44-0-1536 770851, Email:

Contact 28 July-13 August:
Dr Helen Beard (see note 3 for contact details)

European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Related High Blood Pressure Articles from Brightsurf:

High blood pressure linked to baroreflex in rats
Researchers describe a newly observed phenomenon in the way blood pressure is maintained in certain rats.

Children who take steroids at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots
Children who take oral steroids to treat asthma or autoimmune diseases have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clots, according to Rutgers researchers.

High blood pressure treatment linked to less risk for drop in blood pressure upon standing
Treatment to lower blood pressure did not increase and may decrease the risk of extreme drops in blood pressure upon standing from a sitting position.

Changes in blood pressure control over 2 decades among US adults with high blood pressure
National survey data were used to examine how blood pressure control changed overall among U.S. adults with high blood pressure between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018 and by age, race, insurance type and access to health care.

Wealthier men are more likely to develop high blood pressure
Working men with higher incomes are more likely to develop high blood pressure, reports a study presented at the 84th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Circulation Society (JCS 2020).

Regular exercise helps prevent high blood pressure, even in areas of high air pollution
Regular physical activity is a healthy way to prevent and reduce high blood pressure, even in places where pollution levels are relatively high.

Could high blood pressure at night have an effect on your brain?
Most people's blood pressure 'dips' during the night. But for some people, especially those with high blood pressure, their nighttime pressure stays the same or goes up, called 'reverse dipping.' A new study shows that these people may be more likely to have small areas in the brain that appear damaged from vascular disease and associated memory problems.

All women should be educated after childbirth about high blood pressure
After childbirth, it is not uncommon for women to experience high blood pressure.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

New strategy for treating high blood pressure
The key to treating blood pressure might lie in people who are 'resistant' to developing high blood pressure even when they eat high salt diets, shows new research published today in Experimental Physiology.

Read More: High Blood Pressure News and High Blood Pressure Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to