Objectives: Apolipoprotein E may contribute to the hypertiglyceridemia and consequent endothelial dysfunction of preeclampsia. We carried out a study to determine whether the apolipoprotein E genotype plays any role as a risk factor for preeclampsia in a black South African population with a high incidence of preeclampsia.
Design: A descriptive, prospective study design was used.
Setting: King Edward VIII Hospital, a tertiary care, referral academic hospital in Durban, South Africa.
Patients and participants: One hundred three South African Zulu women with preeclampsia and 110 healthy normotensive women attending the antenatal clinic were recruited.
Main outcome measures: The relationship between the apolipoprotein E allele and genotype frequencies to preeclampsia as well as adverse perinatal outcome.
Results: The frequencies of varepsilon2 and varepsilon4 alleles (0. 19 and 0.25, respectively) were much higher than those reported in other population groups. However, there was no significant difference in the apolipoprotein E genotype and allele frequencies between the study and the control groups. The varepsilon2/2 genotype was associated with increased risk of perinatal death (p = 0.047).
Conclusion: The study suggests that, despite the high incidence of both preeclampsia and the varepsilon2 and varepsilon4 alleles in South African Zulu women, apolipoprotein E genotype does not appear to be a risk factor for preeclampsia in this population.