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Pregnancy-associated cardiac dysfunction and the regulatory role of microRNAs

  • Aryan, Laila1
  • Medzikovic, Lejla1
  • Umar, Soban1
  • Eghbali, Mansoureh1
  • 1 David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, BH-550 CHS, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-7115, USA , Los Angeles (United States)
Published Article
Biology of Sex Differences
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Apr 06, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s13293-020-00292-w
Springer Nature


Many crucial cardiovascular adaptations occur in the body during pregnancy to ensure successful gestation. Maladaptation of the cardiovascular system during pregnancy can lead to complications that promote cardiac dysfunction and may lead to heart failure (HF). About 12% of pregnancy-related deaths in the USA have been attributed to HF and the detrimental effects of cardiovascular complications on the heart can be long-lasting, pre-disposing the mother to HF later in life. Indeed, cardiovascular complications such as gestational diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, and peripartum cardiomyopathy have been shown to induce cardiac metabolic dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, apoptosis, and diastolic and systolic dysfunction in the hearts of pregnant women, all of which are hallmarks of HF. The exact etiology and cardiac pathophysiology of pregnancy-related complications is not yet fully deciphered. Furthermore, diagnosis of cardiac dysfunction in pregnancy is often made only after clinical symptoms are already present, thus necessitating the need for novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Mounting data demonstrates an altered expression of maternal circulating miRNAs during pregnancy affected by cardiovascular complications. Throughout the past decade, miRNAs have become of growing interest as modulators and biomarkers of pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prognosis in cardiac dysfunction. While the association between pregnancy-related cardiovascular complications and cardiac dysfunction or HF is becoming increasingly evident, the roles of miRNA-mediated regulation herein remain poorly understood. Therefore, this review will summarize current reports on pregnancy-related cardiovascular complications that may lead to cardiac dysfunction and HF during and after pregnancy in previously healthy women, with a focus on the pathophysiological role of miRNAs.

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