Chronic maternal hypertension characterized by renal dysfunction is associated with reduced placental blood flow during late gestation in rabbits

Adelle Margaret McArdle, Claire T Roberts, Dewaki WK Maduwegedera, Rebecca Lee Flower, Katherine Maude Denton

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal hypertension associated with renal disease is a common pregnancy complication. Previously, we have shown in a rabbit model of mild hypertension that offspring from hypertensive mothers have increased blood pressure as adults. In human pregnancy, hypertension has been associated with decreased utero-placental blood flow. The aim of this study was to determine placental blood flow (PBF) in mild (2-kidney-1-wrapped; 2K-1W) and moderate (2-kidney-2-wrapped; 2K-2W) rabbit models of maternal hypertension. We hypothesized that PBF would be inversely related to the severity of the hypertension. PBF and renal blood flow (RBF) were measured using microspheres on day 28 of a 32-day gestation, in normotensive (sham), 2K-1W, and 2K-2W hypertensive groups. Mean arterial pressure (MAP, approximately 7 mmHg, P <0.05) was increased, and RBF ( approximately 35 , P <0.05) was reduced in the 2K-1W and 2K-2W (MAP approximately 20 mmHg, P <0.01; RBF approximately 53 , P <0.05) groups compared with the sham group. In the 2K-1W group, PBF fell by approximately 12 (P = 0.08) and fetal-to-placental weight ratio increased by approximately 12 (P <0.01) compared with the sham group, reflecting an increase in the functional capacity of the placenta to deliver nutrients to the fetus. In the 2K-2W group, PBF decreased approximately 51 (P <0.05) compared with the sham group, without changes in placental efficiency. Thus, in late gestation, placental blood flow was significantly reduced in the moderate hypertension group, without accompanying changes in fetal or placental weight or placental efficiency. In contrast, mild hypertension resulted in an increase in placental efficiency, without significant changes in placental blood flow. These findings suggest that mild and moderate hypertension may alter placental delivery of nutrients via differing mechanisms dependent upon the severity of the hypertension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1043 - R1049
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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