Open Access Open Badges Research article

A common polymorphism in NR1H2 (LXRbeta) is associated with preeclampsia

Kevin Mouzat1*, Eric Mercier2, Anne Polge1, Alexandre Evrard1, Silvère Baron3, Jean-Pierre Balducchi4, Jean-Paul Brouillet1, Serge Lumbroso1 and Jean-Christophe Gris2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Nimes University Hospital, F-30029 Nîmes Cedex 9, France

2 Department of Hematology, Nimes University Hospital, F-30029 Nîmes Cedex 9, France

3 GReD Laboratory, UMR CNRS 6247 - Clermont University - INSERM U931, F-63177 Aubière Cedex, France

4 Department of Internal Medicine, Nimes University Hospital, F-30029 Nîmes Cedex 9, France

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BMC Medical Genetics 2011, 12:145  doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-145

Published: 26 October 2011



Preeclampsia is a frequent complication of pregnancy and a leading cause of perinatal mortality. Both genetic and environmental risk factors have been identified. Lipid metabolism, particularly cholesterol metabolism, is associated with this disease. Liver X receptors alpha (NR1H3, also known as LXRalpha) and beta (NR1H2, also known as LXRbeta) play a key role in lipid metabolism. They belong to the nuclear receptor superfamily and are activated by cholesterol derivatives. They have been implicated in preeclampsia because they modulate trophoblast invasion and regulate the expression of the endoglin (CD105) gene, a marker of preeclampsia. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between the NR1H3 and NR1H2 genes and preeclampsia.


We assessed associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms of NR1H3 (rs2279238 and rs7120118) and NR1H2 (rs35463555 and rs2695121) and the disease in 155 individuals with preeclampsia and 305 controls. Genotypes were determined by high-resolution melting analysis. We then used a logistic regression model to analyze the different alleles and genotypes for those polymorphisms as a function of case/control status.


We found no association between NR1H3 SNPs and the disease, but the NR1H2 polymorphism rs2695121 was found to be strongly associated with preeclampsia (genotype C/C: adjusted odds ratio, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.04-4.05; p = 0.039 and genotype T/C: adjusted odds ratio, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.01-3.42; p = 0.049).


This study provides the first evidence of an association between the NR1H2 gene and preeclampsia, adding to our understanding of the links between cholesterol metabolism and this disease.