Could extra salt in the diet help to prevent pre-eclampsia?

A new approach to an old problem: The roles of aldosterone and salt in normal pregnancy and pre-eclampsia  

Hiten Mistry (lead researcher)

Nottingham,University of

Start date: 05 October 2015 (Duration 4 years)

BHF Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellow Dr Hiten Mistry is working out if salt intake influences development of pre-eclampsia, a condition affecting pregnant women and causing high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Pre-eclampsia is potentially life-threatening for mums-to be and their babies, and both are more likely to develop heart disease later in life.

Usually, high salt intake raises blood pressure. But pregnant women need to retain some salt, and Dr Mistry’s early studies have found giving salt supplements to healthy women early in pregnancy lowers blood pressure. Dr Mistry believes dietary salt supplements may be able to prevent pre-eclampsia developing.

In this project, he will work out the role of salt in pregnancy, placenta development and pre-eclampsia. He will study salt intake in both healthy pregnancies and in women who develop pre-eclampsia, and whether salt-sensing is altered, causing loss of salt from the body and development of high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

This research could lead to clinical trials to find out if salt supplements reduce the chances of developing pre-eclampsia. It may also identify biomarkers in early pregnancy that flag women at risk of the condition.

Project details

Grant amount £478,876
Grant type Fellowship
Application type Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship
Start Date 05 October 2015
Duration 4 years
Reference FS/15/32/31604
Status In progress

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