We determined Na,K-ATPase activity and cholesterol/phospholipid ratio of maternal and cord red blood cell ghosts from either normotensive or preeclamptic pregnant women. The Na,K-ATPase activity of the red cell ghosts from neonatal blood is significantly lower (25–32%) as compared with the ATPase activity of the maternal red cell ghosts, regardless of the presence or not of preeclampsia. This diminution in Na,K-ATPase activity of the neonatal red blood cell ghosts could be due to an increase in the cholesterol/phospholipid molar ratio of the membrane. The Na,K-ATPase activity of the red blood cell ghosts from pregnant women was unaffected by preeclampsia; however, fetal red blood cell ghosts from infants of preeclamptic mothers showed a significantly lower ATPase activity (20%) than fetal red blood cell ghosts from infants of normotensive mothers. A low Na,K-ATPase activity in the neonatal red blood cells from mothers with preeclampsia could be an indication of an important modification of the physiological role of this enzyme.

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