Women who suffer from certain auto-immune diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, often experience a remission during pregnancy. Although this connection has been known for many years, doctors have just begun to understand why.
A new article suggests doctors have isolated the mechanism responsible: an enzyme known as pyruvate kinase. This enzyme is lowered in women with normal pregnancies. Raised levels of pyruvate kinase are found in pregnant women with pre-eclampsia. As Dr. Howard R Petty, a leader of the study explains, “Pre-eclampsia has features of inflammatory disease. If you don’t reduce these pyruvate levels, you heighten inflammatory disease,”
Doctors hope that reproducing this enzyme could prevent pre-eclampsia and its associated serious complications. There is also hope for auto-immune diseases if the enzyme could be replicated and the diseases respond as predicted.