Heightened maternal inflammation is linked to placental oxidative and nitrosative stress associated with fetal growth restriction in the rat
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Deficient trophoblast invasion and spiral artery remodeling are associated with pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia (PE) and fetal growth restriction (FGR). Using a model in which pregnant Wistar rats are given daily, low-dose, injections of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 10 – 40 µg/kg) on gestational days (GD) 13.5 – 16.5, our group has shown that abnormal maternal inflammation is causally linked to shallow trophoblast invasion, deficient spiral artery remodeling, and altered utero-placental hemodynamics leading to FGR/PE; these alterations were shown to be mediated by TNF-a. The present research evaluated certain consequences of decreased placental perfusion; this was accomplished by examining placental alterations indicative of decreased placental perfusion. Additionally, the role of glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) was determined as a potential therapeutic to prevent the consequences of decreased placental perfusion. Results indicated that dams experiencing heightened maternal inflammation showed significantly greater expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1a (HIF-1a) and nitrotyrosine, both of which are markers of decreased perfusion and oxidative/nitrosative stress. Contrary to expectations, inflammation did not appear to affect nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, as revealed by a lack of change in placental or plasma levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). However, continuous transdermal administration of GTN (25 µg/hr) on GD 12.5 – 16.5 prevented the accumulation of HIF-1a and nitrotyrosine in placentas from LPS-treated rats. These results support the concept that maternal inflammation contributes to placental hypoxia and oxidative/nitrosative stress. Additionally, they indicate that GTN has potential applications in the treatment and/or prevention of pregnancy complications associated with abnormal maternal inflammation.