The role of placental oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in preeclampsia

Sajal Gupta, Ashok Agarwal, Rakesh K Sharma
Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey 2005, 60 (12): 807-16

UNLABELLED: Preeclampsia is a complex multisystem disorder exclusively seen in human species that is characterized by hypertension and proteinuria. This disorder has the highest maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality of all pregnancy-related complications. Growing evidence suggests that placental oxidative stress is involved in the etiopathogenesis of preeclampsia. Reduced perfusion as a result of abnormal placentation leads to ischemia reperfusion injury to the placenta. Placental oxidative stress, which results from the ischemia reperfusion injury, is being increasingly reported to be involved in the etiopathogenesis of preeclampsia. It has been proposed as a promoter of lipid peroxidation and the endothelial cell dysfunction that is commonly seen in this condition. Although preeclampsia is characterized by increased lipid peroxidation and diminished antioxidant capacity, there is no consensus regarding causality of lipid peroxidation in preeclampsia. In this article, we address the question of the biologic association of lipid peroxidation and preeclampsia. Lipid peroxidation and leukocyte activation may play a pivotal role in endothelial cell dysfunction. We also review the different factors that have been proposed to cause endothelial cell dysfunction in preeclampsia, trials investigating the role of antioxidant supplementation in preeclampsia, and the lack of consensus among the trials. Additional longitudinal studies are necessary to determine if the various oxidative stress biomarkers estimated early in pregnancy can be narrowed to a single marker for predicting preeclampsia.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After completion of this article, the reader should be able to recall that placental oxidative stress is involved in the etiopathogenesis of preeclampsia, state that placental oxidative stress results from ischemic reperfusion injury, and explain that ischemic reperfusion injury is a promoter of lipid peroxidation and endothelial cell dysfunction seen in preeclampsia.

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