Atherosis of spiral arteries in uteroplacental beds from preeclamptic women resemble those of atherosclerosis, characterized by increased plasma lipids and lipoproteins. We hypothesized that: 1) lipoprotein receptors/transporters in the placenta would be upregulated in preeclampsia, associated with increased maternal and fetal lipoprotein concentrations; and 2) expression of these would be reduced in preeclamptic placentae from women delivering small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants. Placental biopsies and maternal and umbilical serum samples were taken from 27 normotensive and 24 preeclamptic women. Maternal/umbilical cord serum LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured. Placental mRNA expression of lipoprotein receptors/transporters were quantified using quantitative RT-PCR. Protein localization/expression of LDL receptor-related protein 1 (LRP-1) in the preeclamptic placentae with/without SGA was measured by immunohistochemistry. Placental mRNA expression of all genes except paraoxonase-1 (PON-1), microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP), and protein disulfide isomerase family A member 2 (PDIA2) were observed. No differences for any lipoprotein receptors/transporters were found between groups; however, in the preeclamptic group placental LRP-1 expression was lower in SGA delivering mothers (n = 7; P = 0.036). LRP-1 protein was localized around fetal vessels and Hofbauer cells. This is the first detailed study of maternal/fetal lipoprotein concentrations and placental lipoprotein receptor mRNA expression in normotensive and preeclamptic pregnancies. These findings do not support a role of altered lipid metabolism in preeclampsia, but may be involved in fetal growth.
Keywords: ATP binding cassette transporter A1; LDL receptor; LDL receptor-related protein 1; fetal growth; high density lipoprotein cholesterol; hypertension; lipids; low density liporotein cholesterol; scavenger receptor class B type 1; triglycerides.