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Effects of metoprolol, methyldopa, and nifedipine on endothelial progenitor cells in patients with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia

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Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are critical for vascular regeneration and function, but are reduced in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. We aimed to determine the possible effects of antihypertensive drugs, such as metoprolol, methyldopa, and nifedipine, on EPC number and functions in patients with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. We collected blood samples from 30 normal pregnant women, 67 patients with gestational hypertension and 48 patients with preeclampsia. The patients received no drug or an antihypertensive drug, such as metoprolol, methyldopa, or nifedipine, between 20 and 24 weeks of gestation. The number of EPCs and circulating endothelial cells (CECs) in the blood was measured by flow cytometry. Moreover, colony formation and migration assays were performed on the isolated EPCs. Both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) increased, while the percentage of flow‐mediated vasodilatation (FMD) decreased in patients with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, compared to the healthy controls at 20 weeks of gestation. CEC number increased in the patients, whereas EPC counts decreased. Furthermore, EPC colony formation and migration abilities were also impaired in the patients. However, administration of metoprolol, methyldopa, or nifedipine effectively restored the systolic and diastolic BP, FMD%, EPCs, and CEC numbers, as well as EPC migration capacity. Endothelial progenitor cells colony formation ability selectively improved with methyldopa and nifedipine. In patients receiving no drugs, most of these indexes worsened within 4 weeks (study duration). This study revealed a new pharmacological action of these antihypertensive drugs against gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, thus supporting their clinical use.
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Keywords: antihypertensive drugs; endothelial progenitor cells; gestational hypertension; preeclampsia

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2019

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