Altered matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 expression/activity links placental ischemia and anti-angiogenic sFlt-1 to uteroplacental and vascular remodeling and collagen deposition in hypertensive pregnancy

Wei Li, Karina M Mata, Marc Q Mazzuca, Raouf A Khalil
Biochemical Pharmacology 2014 June 1, 89 (3): 370-85
Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy manifested as maternal hypertension and often fetal growth restriction. Placental ischemia could be an initiating event, but the linking mechanisms leading to hypertension and growth restriction are unclear. We have shown an upregulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) during normal pregnancy (Norm-Preg). To test the role of MMPs in hypertensive-pregnancy (HTN-Preg), maternal and fetal parameters, MMPs expression, activity and distribution, and collagen and elastin content were measured in uterus, placenta and aorta of Norm-Preg rats and in rat model of reduced uteroplacental perfusion pressure (RUPP). Maternal blood pressure was higher, and uterine, placental and aortic weight, and the litter size and pup weight were less in RUPP than Norm-Preg rats. Western blots and gelatin zymography revealed decreases in amount and gelatinase activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in uterus, placenta and aorta of RUPP compared with Norm-Preg rats. Immunohistochemistry confirmed reduced MMPs in uterus, placenta and aortic media of RUPP rats. Collagen, but not elastin, was more abundant in uterus, placenta and aorta of RUPP than Norm-Preg rats. The anti-angiogenic factor soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) decreased MMPs in uterus, placenta and aorta of Norm-Preg rats, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) reversed the decreases in MMPs in tissues of RUPP rats. Thus placental ischemia and anti-angiogenic sFlt-1 decrease uterine, placental and vascular MMP-2 and MMP-9, leading to increased uteroplacental and vascular collagen, and growth-restrictive remodeling in HTN-Preg. Angiogenic factors and MMP activators may reverse the decrease in MMPs and enhance growth-permissive remodeling in preeclampsia.

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