Molecular characterization of renin-angiotensin system components in human intrauterine tissues and fetal membranes from vaginal delivery and cesarean section

F. Z. Marques, K. G. Pringle, A. Conquest, J. J. Hirst, M. A. Markus, M. Sarris, T. Zakar, B. J. Morris, E. R. Lumbers

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A prorenin-angiotensin system (RAS) could, via the (pro)renin receptor (ATP6AP2), have various effects in human intrauterine tissues, either directly by prorenin/ATP6AP2 cell signaling, or indirectly via angiotensin II and/or angiotensin 1-7. Here we describe RAS components in fetal membranes, decidua and placenta collected at elective cesarean section (non-laboring), after spontaneous delivery (after labor, n = 38), and in myometria (n = 16) from elective (non-laboring) or emergency cesarean (laboring) deliveries. Angiotensinogen (AGT), angiotensin-converting enzyme 1 and 2 (ACE; ACE2), angiotensin receptor 1 and 2 (AGTR1; AGTR2) and angiotensin 1-7 receptor (MAS1) mRNAs were measured by qRT-PCR and proteins were localized by immunohistochemistry. In myometrium, prorenin (REN), ATP6AP2, and downstream signaling proteins zinc finger and BTB domain-containing protein 16 (ZBTB16), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFβ1) and prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) mRNAs were also measured. RAS mRNAs, except AGTR1 and AGTR2, were abundant in decidua and lowest in amnion compared to the other tissues. ACE, AGT and PTGS2 mRNAs were higher in laboring than non-laboring myometrium, suggesting that the myometrial RAS is involved in labor. Angiotensinogen and prorenin staining in amnion, chorion and decidua was pervasive despite their mRNAs being low in amnion and chorion. In placenta, prorenin, angiotensinogen and AGTR2 were present in syncytiotrophoblasts, ACE was in fetal endothelium, while ACE2 distribution was diffuse. AGTR1 and AGTR2 mRNAs and proteins were abundant. No differences were evident in the staining patterns with labor. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fetal vascular ACE might contribute angiotensin II to the fetus, whilst syncytial ACE2 might hypothetically have a role in converting angiotensin II to angiotensin 1-7 in maternal blood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cesarean
  • Gene expression
  • Labor
  • Pregnancy
  • Renin-angiotensin system

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