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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2012, Article ID 486053, 6 pages
Research Article

Heme Oxygenase-1 Attenuates Hypoxia-Induced sFlt-1 and Oxidative Stress in Placental Villi through Its Metabolic Products CO and Bilirubin

Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Center for Excellence in Cardiovascular-Renal Research, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA

Received 19 August 2011; Accepted 20 September 2011

Academic Editor: Nader G. Abraham

Copyright © 2012 Eric M. George et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the most prevalent complications of pregnancy is preeclampsia, a hypertensive disorder which is a leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and premature birth with no effective pharmacological intervention. While the underlying cause is unclear, it is believed that placental ischemia/hypoxia induces the release of factors into the maternal vasculature and lead to widespread maternal endothelial dysfunction. Recently, HO-1 has been shown to downregulate two of these factors, reactive oxygen species and sFlt-1, and we have reported that HO-1 induction attenuates many of the pathological factors of placental ischemia experimentally. Here, we have examined the direct effect of HO-1 and its bioactive metabolites on hypoxia-induced changes in superoxide and sFlt-1 in placental vascular explants and showed that HO-1 and its metabolites attenuate the production of both factors in this system. These findings suggest that the HO-1 pathway may be a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of preeclampsia.