Control of soluble fms-like tyrosine-1 (sFlt-1) production response to placental ischemia/hypoxia: role of tumor necrosis factor-α

Sydney R Murphy, B Babbette D LaMarca, Marc Parrish, Kathy Cockrell, Joey P Granger
American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 2013 January 15, 304 (2): R130-5
Although abnormal soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) production is thought to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia (PE), the mechanisms that regulate the production of sFlt-1 during PE are unclear. While our laboratory has shown tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and sFlt-1 to be elevated in pregnant rats in response to placental ischemia, the importance of TNF-α in the regulation of sFlt-1 production is unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the role of TNF-α in mediating the increase in sFlt-1 in response to placental ischemia or hypoxia. Reductions in uterine perfusion pressure in pregnant rats significantly increased plasma levels of sFlt-1 and tended to increase TNF-α, an effect markedly attenuated by pretreatment with a TNF-α inhibitor etanercept (0.4 mg/kg). To further assess chronic interactions between TNF-α and sFlt-1, we examined a chronic effect of TNF-α infusion (50 ng/day) into normal pregnant rats to increase plasma sFlt-1 levels, as well as the effects of acute hypoxia on placental sFlt-1 production in the absence and presence of TNF-α blockade. Placental explants exposed to hypoxic conditions had enhanced TNF-α levels versus normoxic conditions, as well as increased sFlt-1 production. Pretreatment of placental explants with etanercept (15 μM) significantly reduced TNF-α levels in response to hypoxia but did not attenuate sFlt-1 production. These data suggest that while TNF-α may not play an important role in stimulating sFlt-1 production in response to acute hypoxia, a more chronic hypoxia, or placental ischemia may be an important stimulus for enhanced sFlt-l production.

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