The mechanisms mediating the hypertension of preeclampsia (PE) are unclear. Endogenous digitalis-like factors (EDLFs) are specific sodium pump (SP) inhibitors implicated in essential and experimental hypertension, but they have not been fully explored in the setting of PE. This study uses a digoxin antibody Fab fragment to address the question of whether such factors are present and increased in PE, to investigate a possible treatment of PE, and to isolate and characterize all EDLFs present in PE. Sera and placenta from women with PE did show a significant increase in SP inhibition in comparison to women with normal pregnancy and Digibind® was found to bind EDLFs and essentially block or reverse SP inhibition. Sera were collected in a Phase II, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical study in which women with severe preeclampsia were dosed with Digibind®, as a therapeutic, and the SP activity measured. Sera and placenta from women with PE was also investigated for their inhibitory effects on the SP. Known candidates for EDLFs were investigated for their SP inhibitory effects, as well as how digitalis antibody immune Fab fragments, Digibind® and DigiFab™, bound them and affected the SP activity. Digibind® is also a sufficient affinity material used to isolate and purify PE EDLFs. Additionally, the placentas of preeclamptic women have high levels of similar EDLFs. These studies provide evidence for the existence of EDLFs that circulate in women with PE, and Digibind® is an effective and novel tool to bind, isolate and purify EDLFs in PE.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





preeclampsia, Digibind, ouabain, Na+/K+-ATPase, placenta