Expression of angiogenic factors in placenta of stressed rats

Isis Paloppi Corr̂a, Rodrigo Ruano, Nilton Hideto Takiuti, Rossana Pulcinelli Vieira Francisco, Estela Bevilacqua, Marcelo Zugaib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The aim of the present study was to analyse the influence of stress on pregnant rats, particularly in terms of maternal, placental and fetal weight, placental morphology and placental gene expression of the angiogenic factors Vegfa and Pgf and their receptors. The parameters were evaluated on gestation Day 20. Maternal, fetal and placental weights were statistically lower in stressed animals than controls, suggesting abnormalities in gestational physiology. Morphologically the placentas of rats subjected to stress were reduced in size and weight, with few glycogen cells and a significant increase in the number of apoptotic cells. Stress caused an increase in placental gene expression of Vegfa (P < 0.05) and a reduction in Pgf, Flt1 and Kdr expression (P < 0.05). It has been suggested that increased VEGF is associated with vasodilatation and hypotension, but in this model persistent hypertension was present. This study suggests that the limited hypotensive Vegfa response to stress-induced hypertension could result from reduced expression of Flt1/Kdr disrupting specific VEGF pathways. These findings may elucidate one of the multiple possible factors underlying how stress modulates placental physiology, and could aid the understanding of stress-induced gestational disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-858
Number of pages8
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2012


  • animal models
  • maternal-fetal interaction
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Developmental Biology


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