Nicotine and cotinine affect the release of vasoactive factors by trophoblast cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells

F Romani, A Lanzone, A Tropea, F Tiberi, S Catino, R Apa
Placenta 2011, 32 (2): 153-60

OBJECTIVE: To examine nicotine (N) and cotinine (C) effects on trophoblast cells (TCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) secretion of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFlt-1), soluble endoglin (sENG), placental growth factor (PlGF), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

STUDY DESIGN: Human placentas and umbilical cords were collected from uncomplicated pregnancies at term from a total of 24 non-smoking women with a history of normal blood pressure. TCs and HUVEC were cultured for 24 h with C or N (from 10(-12) to 10(-7) M).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: sFlt-1, sENG, PlGF, TGF-beta and VEGF release and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression were evaluated by ELISA and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively.

RESULTS: N and C reduced sFlt-1, sENG and PlGF release by TCs and TGF-beta release by HUVEC. Conversely, N and C increased PlGF secretion, while N alone increased sFlt-1 release by HUVEC. N and C were able to modulate VEGF mRNA expression in HUVEC.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that N and C affect the balance of some important vasoactive factors released by TCs and HUVEC. This might be one of the possible mechanism through which smoke reduces the risk of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy as well as contributes to the well known detrimental effects of smoking on fetal development.

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