Placental Growth Factor Administration Abolishes Placental Ischemia-Induced Hypertension
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific disorder of new-onset hypertension. Unfortunately, the most effective treatment is early delivery of the fetus and placenta. Placental ischemia appears central to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia because placental ischemia/hypoxia induced in animals by reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) or in humans stimulates release of hypertensive placental factors into the maternal circulation. The anti-angiogenic factor soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), which antagonizes and reduces bioavailable vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor (PlGF), is elevated in RUPP rats and preeclampsia. Although PlGF and vascular endothelial growth factor are both natural ligands for sFlt-1, vascular endothelial growth factor also has high affinity to VEGFR2 (Flk-1) causing side effects like edema. PlGF is specific for sFlt-1. We tested the hypothesis that PlGF treatment reduces placental ischemia-induced hypertension by antagonizing sFlt-1 without adverse consequences to the mother or fetus. On gestational day 14, rats were randomized to 4 groups: normal pregnant or RUPP±infusion of recombinant human PlGF (180 μg/kg per day; AG31, a purified, recombinant human form of PlGF) for 5 days via intraperitoneal osmotic minipumps. On day 19, mean arterial blood pressure and plasma sFlt-1 were higher and glomerular filtration rate lower in RUPP than normal pregnant rats. Infusion of recombinant human PlGF abolished these changes seen with RUPP along with reducing oxidative stress. These data indicate that the increased sFlt-1 and reduced PlGF resulting from placental ischemia contribute to maternal hypertension. Our novel finding that recombinant human PlGF abolishes placental ischemia-induced hypertension, without major adverse consequences, suggests a strong therapeutic potential for this growth factor in preeclampsia.
- Received November 9, 2015.
- Revision received November 23, 2015.
- Accepted January 10, 2016.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.