• 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.
    • The Expression of Inflammatory Mediators in Bladder Pain Syndrome.

      Offiah, Ifeoma; Didangelos, Athanasios; Dawes, John; Cartwright, Rufus; Khullar, Vik; Bradbury, Elizabeth J; O'Sullivan, Suzanne; Williams, Dic; Chessell, Iain P; Pallas, Kenny; et al. (European urology, 2016-08)
      Bladder pain syndrome (BPS) pathology is poorly understood. Treatment strategies are empirical, with limited efficacy, and affected patients have diminished quality of life.
    • 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.
    • Metabolic profiling uncovers a phenotypic signature of small for gestational age in early pregnancy.

      Horgan, Richard P; Broadhurst, David I; Walsh, Sarah K; Dunn, Warwick B; Brown, Marie; Roberts, Claire T; North, Robyn A; McCowan, Lesley M; Kell, Douglas B; Baker, Philip N; et al. (2012-01-31)
      Being born small for gestational age (SGA) confers increased risks of perinatal morbidity and mortality and increases the risk of cardiovascular complications and diabetes in later life. Accumulating evidence suggests that the etiology of SGA is usually associated with poor placental vascular development in early pregnancy. We examined metabolomic profiles using ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) in three independent studies: (a) venous cord plasma from normal and SGA babies, (b) plasma from a rat model of placental insufficiency and controls, and (c) early pregnancy peripheral plasma samples from women who subsequently delivered a SGA baby and controls. Multivariate analysis by cross-validated Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) of all 3 studies showed a comprehensive and similar disruption of plasma metabolism. A multivariate predictive model combining 19 metabolites produced by a Genetic Algorithm-based search program gave an Odds Ratio for developing SGA of 44, with an area under the Receiver Operator Characteristic curve of 0.9. Sphingolipids, phospholipids, carnitines, and fatty acids were among this panel of metabolites. The finding of a consistent discriminatory metabolite signature in early pregnancy plasma preceding the onset of SGA offers insight into disease pathogenesis and offers the promise of a robust presymptomatic screening test.
    • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of preeclampsia.

      McCarthy, Fergus P; Drewlo, Sascha; Kingdom, John; Johns, Edward J; Walsh, Sarah K; Kenny, Louise C; Anu Research Centre, University College Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital,, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. fergusmccarthy@gmail.com (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia is a multisystemic disorder of pregnancy characterized by hypertension, proteinuria, and maternal endothelial dysfunction. It is a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality and is thought to be attributable, in part, to inadequate trophoblast invasion. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) is a ligand-activated transcription factor expressed in trophoblasts, and the vasculature of which activation has been shown to improve endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in hypertensive conditions. We investigated the effects of the administration of a PPAR-gamma agonist using the reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) rat model of preeclampsia. The selective PPAR-gamma agonist, rosiglitazone, was administered to pregnant rats that had undergone RUPP surgery. To investigate whether any observed beneficial effects of PPAR-gamma activation were mediated by the antioxidant enzyme, heme oxygenase 1, rosiglitazone was administered in combination with the heme oxygenase 1 inhibitor tin-protoporphyrin IX. RUPP rats were characterized by hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, and elevated microalbumin:creatinine ratios. Rosiglitazone administration ameliorated hypertension, improved vascular function, and reduced the elevated microalbumin:creatinine ratio in RUPP rats. With the exception of microalbumin:creatinine ratio, these beneficial effects were abrogated in the presence of the heme oxygenase 1 inhibitor. Administration of a PPAR-gamma agonist prevented the development of several of the pathophysiological characteristics associated with the RUPP model of preeclampsia, via a heme oxygenase 1-dependent pathway. The findings from this study provide further insight into the underlying etiology of preeclampsia and a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of preeclampsia.
    • Plasma-mediated vascular dysfunction in the reduced uterine perfusion pressure model of preeclampsia: a microvascular characterization.

      Walsh, Sarah K; English, Fred A; Johns, Edward J; Kenny, Louise C; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. S.Walsh@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia is associated with widespread maternal vascular dysfunction, which is thought to be mediated by circulating factor(s). The aim of the study was to characterize vascular function in the reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) rat model of preeclampsia and to investigate the role of plasma factors in mediating any observed changes in vascular reactivity. Mean arterial blood pressure and vascular function were measured in RUPP and control rats. Mesenteric vessels from both virgin and pregnant rats were exposed for 1 hour or overnight to plasma from both RUPP and control rats and their vascular function assessed. RUPP rats were characterized by severe hypertension, restricted fetal growth, and reduced placental weight (P<0.001). Vasorelaxation was impaired in resistance vessels from RUPP compared with control rats (acetylcholine: R(max) 70+/-3 versus 92+/-1 [NP] and 93+/-3% [sham], P<0.01; bradykinin: 40+/-2 versus 62+/-2 [NP] and 59+/-4% [sham], P<0.001). Incubation of vessels from pregnant (but not virgin) animals with RUPP plasma overnight resulted in an attenuation of vasorelaxant responses (acetylcholine: 63+/-7 versus 86+/-2%, P<0.05; bradykinin: 35+/-5 versus 55+/-6%, P<0.001). The residual relaxant response in RUPP plasma-treated vessels was not further attenuated after treatment with N(omega)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (acetylcholine: 57+/-7 versus 63+/-7%, ns; bradykinin: 37+/-5 versus 35+/-5%, ns). The RUPP rat model is characterized by an impaired response to vasodilators which may be attributable to one or more circulating factors. This plasma-mediated endothelial dysfunction appears to be a pregnancy-dependent effect. Furthermore, nitric oxide-mediated vasorelaxation appears to be absent in RUPP plasma-treated vessels.