Open Access
Smoking and risk of preeclampsia: a systematic review
Lucinda England1,Jun Zhang1
Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA, USA
DOI: 10.2741/2248 Volume 12 Issue 7, pp.2471-2483
Published: 01 January 2007
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Placenta, endothelium, and preeclampsia)

Cigarette smoking adversely affects every organ system. Paradoxically, smoking during pregnancy has been associated with a reduced risk of preeclampsia. We reviewed previous epidemiologic and clinical studies on the association between smoking and preeclampsia from 1959 to March, 2006. A total of 48 epidemiologic studies were identified. Overall, smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of preeclampsia by up to 50% with a dose-response pattern. A protective effect was consistently found in both nulliparas and multiparas, singleton and multifetal pregnancies, and for mild and severe preeclampsia. Evidence on whether quitting smoking before or in early pregnancy reduces the risk remains inconclusive. To understand possible biologic mechanism(s) of the protective effect, we reviewed literature on potential pathophysiology of smoking and its effects on placenta, cardiovascular and immune systems. Although current literature does not lend clear evidence to support a particular mechanism for the protective effect of smoking, smoking might have effects on angiogenic factors, endothelial function and the immune system which act to lower risk of preeclampsia. More epidemiologic studies with biochemically confirmed smoking status and laboratory studies with a focus on promising pathways are warranted to further clarify this puzzling relationship. Understanding the underlying mechanisms through which smoking reduces preeclampsia risk may enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis of this disorder and contribute to the development of prevention strategies.

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Lucinda England, Jun Zhang. Smoking and risk of preeclampsia: a systematic review. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2007. 12(7); 2471-2483.