Exploring the Potential of Olfactory Receptor Circulating RNA Measurement for Preeclampsia Prediction and Its Linkage to Mild Gestational Hypothyroidism

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Nov 24;24(23):16681. doi: 10.3390/ijms242316681.


Gestational hypothyroidism may lead to preeclampsia development. However, this pathophysiological is unknown. We expect to find a shared mechanism by comparing hypothyroidism and preeclampsia. From our transcriptome data, we recognized olfactory receptors as that fingerprint. The reduction of taste and smell in hypothyroid patients has been known for a long time. Therefore, we decided to look to the olfactory receptors and aimed to identify genes capable of predicting preeclampsia (PEC). Methods: An Ion Proton Sequencer (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA, USA) was used to construct the transcriptome databases. RStudio with packages Limma v.3.50.0, GEOquery v.2.62.2, and umap v. were used to analyze the differentially expressed genes in GSE149440 from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO). The 7500 Real-Time PCR System (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA) was used for RT-qPCR amplification of OR6X1 and OR4E2. Results: Our transcriptomic datasets analysis revealed 25.08% and 26.75% downregulated olfactory receptor (ORs) in mild nontreated gestational hypothyroidism (GHT) and PEC, respectively. In the GSE149440 GEO dataset, we found OR5H1, OR5T3, OR51A7, OR51B6, OR10J5, OR6C6, and OR2AG2 as predictors of early-onset PEC. We also evaluate two chosen biomarkers' responses to levothyroxine. The RT-qPCR demonstrated a difference in OR6X1 and OR4E2 expression between GHT and healthy pregnancy (p < 0.05). Those genes presented a negative correlation with TSH (r: -0.51, p < 0.05; and r: -0.44, p < 0.05), a strong positive correlation with each other (r: 0.89; p < 0.01) and the levothyroxine-treated group had no difference from the healthy one. We conclude that ORs could be used as biomarkers at the beginning of gestation, and the downregulated ORs found in GHT may be improved with levothyroxine treatment.

Keywords: circulating RNA; mild gestational hypothyroidism; olfactory receptor; predictive biomarkers; preeclampsia; transcriptome.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism* / genetics
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, Odorant* / genetics
  • Thyroxine


  • Thyroxine
  • Receptors, Odorant
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • OR10J5 protein, human