Persistence of risk factors associated with maternal cardiovascular disease following aberrant inflammation in rat pregnancy

Takafumi Ushida, Shannyn K. Macdonald-Goodfellow, Allegra Quadri, M Yat Tse, Louise M Winn, Stephen C Pang, Michael A Adams, Tomomi Kotani, Fumitaka Kikkawa, Charles H Graham
Biology of Reproduction2017
Introduction: Pre-eclampsia is associated with increased risk of subsequent cardiovascular and metabolic disease in the affected mothers. While aberrant inflammation contributes to the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia, it is unclear whether maternal inflammation contributes to the increased risk of disease. Here, we determined the effect of aberrant inflammation in pregnancy on cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk factors. Methods: Wistar rats were administered low doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on gestational days (GD) 13.5-16.5 to induce inflammation. Controls included pregnant rats treated with saline and nonpregnant rats treated with LPS or saline. We previously showed that LPS-treated pregnant rats exhibit key features of pre-eclampsia. Echocardiographic parameters, heart weight, blood pressure, blood lipids, pulse-wave velocity, and glucose tolerance, were assessed at 16 weeks postpartum. Messenger RNA levels of transcription factors associated with cardiac growth were measured in left ventricular tissue; histone modifications and global DNA methylation were determined in hearts and livers at GD 17.5 and at 16 weeks postpartum. Results: Compared with saline-treated pregnant rats and nonpregnant rats treated with LPS or saline, LPS-treated pregnant rats exhibited left ventricular hypertrophy and increased blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels at 16 weeks postdelivery. LPS-treated rats had increased left ventricular mRNA levels of hypertrophy-associated transcription factors at GD 17.5 and increased levels of modified histones in hearts and livers at GD 17.5 and 16 weeks postpartum. Other parameters remained unchanged. Conclusion: Aberrant inflammation during pregnancy results in persistent alterations in maternal physiological parameters and epigenetic modifications that could contribute to the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease.

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