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Hypertension. 2008 Dec;52(6):1161-7. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.120881. Epub 2008 Nov 3.

Hypertension in response to chronic reductions in uterine perfusion in pregnant rats: effect of tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockade.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Center for Excellence in Cardiovascular-Renal Research, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, USA.


Reductions in uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) in pregnant rats is associated with increased tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). This study was designed to determine the role of endogenous TNF-alpha in mediating changes in arterial pressure and endothelin-1 (ET-1) in RUPP rats. To achieve this goal we examined the effect of RUPP in the presence and absence of a TNF-alpha-soluble receptor, etanerecept (0.4 mg/kg). Mean arterial pressure increased from 102+/-1 mm Hg in normal pregnant (NP) rats to 134+/-3 mm Hg (P<0.05) in RUPP rats. Serum TNF-alpha increased to 40+/-7.6 pg/mL in RUPP rats (n=24) versus 14.8+/-3.3 pg/mL (n=16; P<0.05) in NP rats. Administration of etanerecept decreased TNF-alpha in RUPP rats (n=20) to 17.2+/-3 pg/mL and mean arterial pressure to 118+/-2 mm Hg (P<0.05). Tissue ET-1 decreased in etanerecept-treated RUPP rats compared with control RUPP rats. The direct effect of TNF-alpha blockade on endothelial activation in response to placental ischemia was examined in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. ET-1 secreted from human umbilical vein endothelial cells treated with RUPP serum was 59.2+16 pg/mg and decreased when etanerecept was added to the medium with RUPP serum (7.60+/-0.77 pg/mg), as well as in response to serum from etanerecept-treated RUPP rats (7.30+/-0.55 pg/mg; P<0.001). ET-1 secreted from human umbilical vein endothelial cells was 15.6+/-2 pg/mg when treated with NP serum. These data support the hypothesis that endogenous TNF-alpha is an important stimulus for ET-1 in response to placental ischemia and is important in mediating endothelial cell activation and hypertension during pregnancy.

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