Heme Oxygenase-1 Is Not Decreased in Preeclamptic Placenta and Does Not Negatively Regulate Placental Soluble fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase-1 or Soluble Endoglin Secretion

Stephen Tong, Tu'uhevaha J Kaitu'u-Lino, Kenji Onda, Sally Beard, Roxanne Hastie, Natalie K Binder, Cathy Cluver, Laura Tuohey, Clare Whitehead, Fiona Brownfoot, Manarangi De Silva, Natalie J Hannan
Hypertension 2015, 66 (5): 1073-81
Elevated placental release of the antiangiogenic factors, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and soluble endoglin (sENG), is central to the pathophysiology of preeclampsia. It is widely accepted that heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is decreased in preeclamptic placenta and negatively regulates sFlt-1 and sENG production. We set out to verify these contentions. There was no difference in HO-1 mRNA or protein levels in preterm preeclamptic placentas (n=17) compared with gestationally matched controls (n=27). In silico analysis of microarray studies did not identify decreased placental HO-1 expression in preeclamptic placenta. Silencing HO-1 in primary trophoblasts did not affect sFlt-1 protein secretion after 24 or 48 hours. Silencing nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (transcription factor that upregulates HO-1) in trophoblasts also did not affect sFlt-1 secretion. Administering tin protoporphyrin IX dichloride (HO-1 inhibitor) or cobalt protoporphyrin (HO-1 inducer) into placental explants did not affect sFlt-1 or sENG secretion. Silencing HO-1 in 2 types of primary endothelial cells (human umbilical vein endothelial and uterine microvascular endothelial cells) significantly increased sFlt-1 secretion but not sENG secretion. However, HO-1 silencing selectively increased mRNA expression of sFlt-1 i13 (generically expressed sFlt-1 variant) but not of sFlt-1 e15a (sFlt-1 variant mainly expressed in placenta). Furthermore, adding tin protoporphyrin IX dichloride decreased sFlt-1, whereas adding HO-1 inducers (cobalt protoporphyrin, dimethyl fumarate, and rosiglitazone) either had no effect or increased sFlt-1 or sENG secretion (these trends are opposite to what is expected). We conclude that HO-1 expression is not decreased in preeclamptic placenta and HO-1 does not negatively regulate placental sFlt-1 and sENG secretion in placental or endothelial cells.

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