Animal Models of Preeclampsia: Causes, Consequences, and Interventions

Kathryn L. Gatford, Prabha H. Andraweera, Claire T. Roberts, Alison S. Care

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Preeclampsia is a common pregnancy complication, affecting 2% to 8% of pregnancies worldwide, and is an important cause of both maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Importantly, although aspirin and calcium are able to prevent preeclampsia in some women, there is no cure apart from delivery of the placenta and fetus, often necessitating iatrogenic preterm birth. Preclinical models of preeclampsia are widely used to investigate the causes and consequences of preeclampsia and to evaluate safety and efficacy of potential preventative and therapeutic interventions. In this review, we provide a summary of the published preclinical models of preeclampsia that meet human diagnostic criteria, including the development of maternal hypertension, together with new-onset proteinuria, maternal organ dysfunction, and uteroplacental dysfunction. We then discuss evidence from preclinical models for multiple causal factors of preeclampsia, including those implicated in early-onset and late-onset preeclampsia. Next, we discuss the impact of exposure to a preeclampsia-like environment for later maternal and progeny health. The presence of long-term impairment, particularly cardiovascular outcomes, in mothers and progeny after an experimentally induced preeclampsia-like pregnancy, implies that later onset or reduced severity of preeclampsia will improve later maternal and progeny health. Finally, we summarize published intervention studies in preclinical models and identify gaps in knowledge that we consider should be targets for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1381
Number of pages19
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • aspirin
  • humans
  • models, theoretical
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy


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