The evidence that genetic and immunogenetic influences operate in the causation of pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (gestosis) is reviewed. The problems of definitive diagnosis are discussed along with the possibility of a multifactorial aetiology. The difficulties of differentiating trigger and effector mechanisms are also considered. It is concluded that there is evidence for a predisposition, probably genetic, operating in some cases, an immunogenetic mechanism in others, and chromosomal factors in a small group.
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