Marie van Dijk has been awarded with the Ferring Innovation grant (1 year; 103.066,- USD) for het project ELABELA as a potential biomarker and therapeutic for pre-eclampsia. Marie curently works at the Reproductive Biology Lab, AMC and is a former employee of the VUmc clinical chemistry department
Summary of the project:
Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy-associated syndrome leading to gestational hypertension and proteinuria in the third trimester. However, already in the first trimester of pregnancy extravillous trophoblast invasion and maternal spiral artery remodeling is shallow, leading to a dysfunctional placenta and a significant risk of intra-uterine growth restriction for the developing fetus.
Knockout of the peptide hormone ELABELA in pregnant mice results in a pre-eclamptic phenotype, i.e. significantly increased hypertension from gestational day 16 onwards and proteinuria, as well as placental defects (Reversade lab, Institute of Medical Biology, A*STAR, Singapore).
In this project we will explore the role of ELABELA in human placental development by investigating placental localization, by studying its effects on trophoblast invasion in vitro (cell culture) and ex vivo (placental explants culture), and by studying its role in the development of pre-eclampsia by measuring ELABELA in first and third trimester blood samples with pre-eclamptic and normal pregnancy outcomes.