INTRODUCTION: Pre-eclampsia (PE) is increased ~4-fold by maternal diabetes. Elevated plasma antiangiogenic factors, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFLT-1) and soluble endoglin (sENG), precede PE onset. We investigated whether diabetes-related stresses, modified lipoproteins and elevated glucose enhance trophoblast sFLT-1 and sENG release and/or alter placental barrier function and whether oxidized low-density lipoprotein (Ox-LDL) is in placental tissue.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: HTR8/SVneo cells were exposed to 'heavily-oxidized, glycated' LDL (HOG-LDL) versus native LDL (N-LDL) (10-200 mg protein/L) for 24 hours ±pretreatment with glucose (30 mmol/L, 72 hours). Concentrations of sFLT-1 and sENG in supernatants (by ELISA) and expressions of sFLT-1-I13 and sFLT-1-E15A isoforms, endoglin (ENG) and matrix metalloproteinase-14 (MMP-14; by RT-PCR) were quantified. For barrier studies, JAR cells were cultured in Transwell plates (12-14 days), then exposed to LDL. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) was measured after 6, 12 and 24 hours. In placental sections from women with and without type 1 diabetes, immunostaining of apolipoprotein B100 (ApoB, a marker of LDL), Ox-LDL and lipoxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal was performed.
RESULTS: HOG-LDL (50 mg/L) increased sFLT-1 (2.7-fold, p<0.01) and sENG (6.4-fold, p<0.001) in supernatants versus N-LDL. HOG-LDL increased expression of sFLT-1-I13 (twofold, p<0.05), sFLT-1-E15A (1.9-fold, p<0.05), ENG (1.6-fold, p<0.01) and MMP-14 (1.8-fold, p<0.05) versus N-LDL. High glucose did not by itself alter sFLT-1 or sENG concentrations, but potentiated effects of HOG-LDL on sFLT-1 by 1.5-fold (p<0.05) and on sENG by 1.8-fold (p<0.01). HOG-LDL (200 mg/L) induced trophoblast barrier impairment, decreasing TEER at 6 hours (p<0.01), 12 hours (p<0.01) and 24 hours (p<0.05) versus N-LDL. Immunostaining of term placental samples from women both with and without diabetes revealed presence of intravillous modified lipoproteins.
CONCLUSION: These findings may explain, in part, the high risk for PE in women with diabetes. The trophoblast culture model has potential for evaluating novel therapies targeting barrier dysfunction.