Expression levels of urotensin II are associated with endoplasmic reticulum stress in patients with severe preeclampsia

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Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy remain a leading cause of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. We aim to study urotensin II (UII) and its association with the markers of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) in placentas of patients with severe preeclampsia (SPE). Thirty-three patients with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and twenty-two healthy pregnant women designated as healthy controls were recruited. Expression levels of UII, UII receptor (GPR14) and the markers of ERS in placenta specimens of patients were performed. Plasma and urinary UII levels were measured by radioimmunoassay method. Our study showed that the plasma levels of UII in patients with hypertensive disorders during pregnancy were significantly higher than that of the healthy control group. However, the urinary levels of UII had no difference in two groups. The expression level of mRNA and protein of UII, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) and glucose regulation protein 78 in placentas of SPE was significantly increased. Immunohistochemical analyses show that the expression levels of UII and ERS markers were mainly located in the cytoplasm of placental trophoblastic cells. Moreover, expression level of UII mRNA and protein was positively correlated with that of the markers of ERS. The positive correlation between UII and ERS markers expression level also corresponded with the level of patient's systolic blood pressure and proteinuria. In conclusion, we first verify that expression of UII is associated with ERS in patients with SPE. Our results indicate that UII may trigger ERS in placental trophoblastic cells in patients with preeclampsia.

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