• Animal models of preeclampsia; uses and limitations.

      McCarthy, F P; Kingdom, J C; Kenny, L C; Walsh, S K; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland., fergusmccarthy@gmail.com (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia remains a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality and has an unknown etiology. The limited progress made regarding new treatments to reduce the incidence and severity of preeclampsia has been attributed to the difficulties faced in the development of suitable animal models for the mechanistic research of this disease. In addition, animal models need hypotheses on which to be based and the slow development of testable hypotheses has also contributed to this poor progress. The past decade has seen significant advances in our understanding of preeclampsia and the development of viable reproducible animal models has contributed significantly to these advances. Although many of these models have features of preeclampsia, they are still poor overall models of the human disease and limited due to lack of reproducibility and because they do not include the complete spectrum of pathophysiological changes associated with preeclampsia. This review aims to provide a succinct and comprehensive assessment of current animal models of preeclampsia, their uses and limitations with particular attention paid to the best validated and most comprehensive models, in addition to those models which have been utilized to investigate potential therapeutic interventions for the treatment or prevention of preeclampsia.
    • Mast cells, peptides and cardioprotection - an unlikely marriage?

      Walsh, S K; Kane, K A; Wainwright, C L; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      1 Mast cells have classically been regarded as the 'bad guys' in the setting of acute myocardial ischaemia, where their released contents are believed to contribute both to tissue injury and electrical disturbances resulting from ischaemia. Recent evidence suggests, however, that if mast cell degranulation occurs in advance of ischaemia onset, this may be cardioprotective by virtue of the depletion of mast cell contents that can no longer act as instruments of injury when the tissue becomes ischaemic. 2 Many peptides, such as ET-1, adrenomedullin, relaxin and atrial natriuretic peptide, have been demonstrated to be cardioprotective when given prior to the onset of myocardial ischaemia, although their physiological functions are varied and the mechanisms of their cardioprotective actions appear to be diverse and often ill defined. However, one common denominator that is emerging is the ability of these peptides to modulate mast cell degranulation, raising the possibility that peptide-induced mast cell degranulation or stabilization may hold the key to a common mechanism of their cardioprotection. 3 The aim of this review was to consolidate the evidence implying that mast cell degranulation could play both a detrimental and protective role in myocardial ischaemia, depending upon when it occurs, and that this may underlie the cardioprotective effects of a range of diverse peptides that exerts physiological effects within the cardiovascular system.