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Placenta. 2007 May-Jun;28(5-6):498-504. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Vasoreactivity of chorionic plate arteries in response to vasoconstrictors produced by preeclamptic placentas.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, PO Box 33932, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71130, USA.


Inadequate blood flow and increased vasoconstriction of the placenta contribute to pregnancy associated disorders such as preeclampsia (PE). Because placental vessels lack autonomic innervation, humoral effects of the placenta must play critical roles in regulation of fetal-placental vascular contractility. In this study, we examined the nature of humoral factors produced by PE trophoblasts on placental vessel contractility using an organ bath perfusion model. Vasomotor responses were studied in vitro using placental chorionic plate arteries. Vessel rings from third branch chorionic plate arteries were dissected from human placentas following normal or PE delivery. The arterial rings were equilibrated in Krebs Henseleit buffer and exposed to placental conditioned medium, which was prepared by culture of villous tissue from PE placentas. Receptor antagonists for angiotensin II (ANG II), thromboxane (TX), and endothelin (ET) were used to determine which humoral factor produced by placental tissue (trophoblasts) was more effective in promoting vasoconstriction. The role of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and non-ACE ANG II generating enzymes in regulation of placental vasomotor tone were also investigated. A total of 80 arterial rings from 48 placentas were studied. Our results showed: 1) enhanced vasomotor tone in arteries from PE placentas compared to those from normal placentas; 2) PE-CM induced vaso-constrictive activity could be partially attenuated by receptor antagonists for TX, ANG II and ET, respectively; and 3) chymostatin (a chymase inhibitor) produced a stronger inhibitory effect than captopril (ACE inhibitor) on PE conditioned medium induced vasoconstriction. Our data demonstrate increased vasocontractility in PE placentas and suggest that the non-ACE pathway is probably a major source of ANG II produced in the human placenta.

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