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Risk Factors and Mediators of the Vascular Dysfunction Associated with Hypertension in Pregnancy

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Abstract:

Normal pregnancy is associated with significant hemodynamic changes and vasodilation in the uterine and systemic circulation in order to meet the metabolic demands of the mother and developing fetus. Hypertension in pregnancy (HTN-Preg) and preeclampsia (PE) are major complications and life-threatening conditions to both the mother and fetus. PE is precipitated by various genetic, dietary and environmental factors. Although the initiating events of PE are unclear, inadequate invasion of cytotrophoblasts into the uterine artery is thought to reduce uteroplacental perfusion pressure and lead to placental ischemia/hypoxia. Placental hypoxia induces the release of biologically active factors such as growth factor inhibitors, anti-angiogenic proteins, inflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen species, hypoxia-inducible factors, and antibodies to vascular angiotensin II receptor. These bioactive factors affect the production/activity of various vascular mediators in the endothelium, smooth muscle and extracellular matrix, leading to severe vasoconstriction and HTN. As an endothelial cell disorder, PE is associated with decreased vasodilator mediators such as nitric oxide, prostacyclin and hyperpolarizing factor and increased vasoconstrictor mediators such as endothelin, angiotensin II and thromboxane A2. PE also involves enhanced mechanisms of vascular smooth muscle contraction including intracellular free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i), and [Ca2+]i sensitization pathways such as protein kinase C, Rho-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase. Changes in extracellular matrix composition and matrix metalloproteases activity also promote vascular remodeling and further vasoconstriction in the uterine and systemic circulation. Characterization of the predisposing risk factors, the biologically active factors, and the vascular mediators associated with PE holds the promise for early detection, and should help design specific genetic and pharmacological tools for the management of the vascular dysfunction associated with HTN-Preg.





Keywords: Cytokines; endothelium; growth factors; placenta; preeclampsia; vascular smooth muscle

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2174/187152910790780096

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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  • Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for cardiovascular and hematological drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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