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Full-Length Human Placental sFlt-1-e15a Isoform Induces Distinct Maternal Phenotypes of Preeclampsia in Mice

Szalai, G., Romero, R., Chaiworapongsa, T. et al.

Objective
Most anti-angiogenic preeclampsia models in rodents utilized the overexpression of a truncated soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) not expressed in any species. Other limitations of mouse preeclampsia models included stressful blood pressure measurements and the lack of postpartum monitoring. We aimed to 1) develop a mouse model of preeclampsia by administering the most abundant human placental sFlt-1 isoform (hsFlt-1-e15a) in preeclampsia; 2) determine blood pressures in non-stressed conditions; and 3) develop a survival surgery that enables the collection of fetuses and placentas and postpartum (PP) monitoring.

Methods
Pregnancy status of CD-1 mice was evaluated with high-frequency ultrasound on gestational days (GD) 6 and 7. Telemetry catheters were implanted in the carotid artery on GD7, and their positions were verified by ultrasound on GD13. Mice were injected through tail-vein with adenoviruses expressing hsFlt-1-e15a (n = 11) or green fluorescent protein (GFP; n = 9) on GD8/GD11. Placentas and pups were delivered by cesarean section on GD18 allowing PP monitoring. Urine samples were collected with cystocentesis on GD6/GD7, GD13, GD18, and PPD8, and albumin/creatinine ratios were determined. GFP and hsFlt-1-e15a expression profiles were determined by qRT-PCR. Aortic ring assays were performed to assess the effect of hsFlt-1-e15a on endothelia.

Results
Ultrasound predicted pregnancy on GD7 in 97% of cases. Cesarean section survival rate was 100%. Mean arterial blood pressure was higher in hsFlt-1-e15a-treated than in GFP-treated mice (∆MAP = 13.2 mmHg, p = 0.00107; GD18). Focal glomerular changes were found in hsFlt-1-e15a -treated mice, which had higher urine albumin/creatinine ratios than controls (109.3±51.7μg/mg vs. 19.3±5.6μg/mg, p = 4.4x10-2; GD18). Aortic ring assays showed a 46% lesser microvessel outgrowth in hsFlt-1-e15a-treated than in GFP-treated mice (p = 1.2x10-2). Placental and fetal weights did not differ between the groups. One mouse with liver disease developed early-onset preeclampsia-like symptoms with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

Conclusions
A mouse model of late-onset preeclampsia was developed with the overexpression of hsFlt-1-e15a, verifying the in vivo pathologic effects of this primate-specific, predominant placental sFlt-1 isoform. HsFlt-1-e15a induced early-onset preeclampsia-like symptoms associated with IUGR in a mouse with a liver disease. Our findings support that hsFlt-1-e15a is central to the terminal pathway of preeclampsia, and it can induce the full spectrum of symptoms in this obstetrical syndrome.

Citation

Szalai, G., Romero, R., Chaiworapongsa, T. et al. "Full-Length Human Placental sFlt-1-e15a Isoform Induces Distinct Maternal Phenotypes of Preeclampsia in Mice" PLoS One (2015): e0119547