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In-vitro study of the effect of anti-hypertensive drugs on placental hormones and angiogenic proteins synthesis in pre-eclampsia

Subrata Gangooly, Shanthi Muttukrishna, Eric Jauniaux
PloS One 2014, 9 (9): e107644
25251016

INTRODUCTION: Antihypertensive drugs lower the maternal blood pressure in pre-eclampsia (PE) by direct or central vasodilatory mechanisms but little is known about the direct effects of these drugs on placental functions.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of our study is to evaluate the effect of labetolol, hydralazine, α-methyldopa and pravastatin on the synthesis of placental hormonal and angiogenic proteins know to be altered in PE.

DESIGN: Placental villous explants from late onset PE (n = 3) and normotensive controls (n = 6) were cultured for 3 days at 10 and 20% oxygen (O2) with variable doses anti-hypertensive drugs. The levels of activin A, inhibin A, human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG), soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and soluble endoglin (sEng) were measured in explant culture media on day 1, 2 and 3 using standard immunoassays. Data at day 1 and day 3 were compared.

RESULTS: Spontaneous secretion of sEndoglin and sFlt-1 were higher (p < 0.05) in villous explants from PE pregnancies compared to controls. There was a significant time dependent decrease in the secretion of sFlt-1 and sEndoglin in PE cases, which was seen only for sFlt-1 in controls. In both PE cases and controls the placental protein secretions were not affected by varying doses of anti-hypertensive drugs or the different O2 concentration cultures, except for Activin, A which was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in controls at 10% O2.

INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that the changes previously observed in maternal serum hormones and angiogenic proteins level after anti-hypertensive treatment in PE could be due to a systemic effect of the drugs on maternal blood pressure and circulation rather than a direct effect of these drugs on placental biosynthesis and/or secretion.

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