Magnetic Resonance Imaging Detects Placental Hypoxia and Acidosis in Mouse Models of Perturbed Pregnancies

6:42 am 17 Oct 2014


Endothelial dysfunction as a result of dysregulation of anti-angiogenic molecules secreted by the placenta leads to the
maternal hypertensive response characteristic of the pregnancy complication of preeclampsia. Structural abnormalities in
the placenta have been proposed to result in altered placental perfusion, placental oxidative stress, cellular damage and
inflammation and the release of anti-angiogenic compounds into the maternal circulation. The exact link between these
factors is unclear. Here we show, using Magnetic Resonance Imaging as a tool to examine placental changes in mouse
models of perturbed pregnancies, that T2 contrast between distinct regions of the placenta is abolished at complete loss of
blood flow. Alterations in T2 (spin-spin or transverse) relaxation times are explained as a consequence of hypoxia and
acidosis within the tissue. Similar changes are observed in perturbed pregnancies, indicating that acidosis as well as hypoxia
may be a feature of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and may play a prominent role in the signalling
pathways that lead to the increased secretion of anti-angiogenic compounds.


PLoS ONE 8(3): e59971. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059971