Pre-eclampsia is a serious pregnancy disorder associated with widespread activation of the maternal vascular endothelium. Recent evidence implicates a role for oxidative stress in the aetiology of this condition. Reactive oxygen species, particularly superoxide anions, invokes endothelial cell activation through many pathways. Oxidant-induced cell injury triggers the activation of nuclear enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) leading to endothelial dysfunction in various pathophysiological conditions (reperfusion, shock, diabetes). We have studied whether the loss of endothelial function in pre-eclampsia is dependent on PARP activity. Endothelium-dependent responses of myometrial arteries were tested following exposure to either plasma from women with pre-eclampsia or normal pregnant women in the presence and absence of a novel potent inhibitor of PARP, PJ34. Additional effects of plasma and PJ34 inhibition were identified in microvascular endothelial cell cultures. In myometrial arteries, PARP inhibition blocked the attenuation of endothelium-dependent responses following exposure to plasma from women with pre-eclampsia. In endothelial cell cultures, plasma from pre-eclamptics induced measurable oxidative stress and a concomitant increase in PARP activity and reduction in cellular ATP. Again, these biochemical changes were reversed by PJ34. These results suggest that PARP activity plays a pathogenic role in the development of endothelial dysfunction in pre-eclampsia and promotes PARP inhibition as a potential therapy in this condition.
- Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase
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