Role of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Reactive Oxygen Species in Mediating Hypertension in the Reduced Uterine Perfusion Pressure Rat Model of Preeclampsia [Original Articles]

Placental ischemia is believed to be the initial event in the development of preeclampsia. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a cause of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and oxidative stress, however, there are not many studies examining the role of mitochondrial ROS in the pathology of preeclampsia. The purpose of this study was to not only examine the effect of placental ischemia on mitochondrial-mediated oxidative stress in reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) rat model of preeclampsia but to also examine the role of mitochondrial ROS in contributing to hypertension in response to placental ischemia. Female pregnant Sprague Dawley rats were used in this study. On gestational day 14, RUPP surgery was performed. On gestational day 19, blood pressure (mean arterial pressure) was measured, placentas and kidneys were collected from normal pregnant and RUPP rats and processed for mitochondrial respiration, ROS, and oxidative phosphorylation enzyme activities. Renal and placental complex activities, expressions and respiration rates were significantly reduced and mitochondrial ROS was increased in RUPP versus normal pregnant mitochondria. Mean arterial pressure was elevated in RUPP (n=6) compared with normal pregnant rats (n=5; 126±4 versus 103±4 mm Hg; P<0.05) and treatment with mitochondrial-specific antioxidants (MitoQ/MitoTEMPO) significantly reduced mean arterial pressure in RUPPs (n=5–10). Mitochondrial ROS was significantly elevated in endothelial cells incubated with RUPP serum compared from with normal pregnant rats, whereas serum from mito antioxidant–treated RUPP rats attenuated this response. Impaired mitochondrial function and vascular, placental, and renal mitochondrial ROS play an important role in hypertension and reduced fetal weight in response to placental ischemia during pregnancy.