Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is associated with increased perinatal morbidity and mortality, and often results from functional placental insufficiency. Placentation requires extensive vasculogenesis and subsequent angiogenesis, in both maternal and fetal tissues. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) and Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) are angiogenic growth factors expressed in the placenta, and compete for binding to a common receptor, Tunica interna endothelial cell kinase-2 (Tie-2). Our objective was to examine Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 expression in ovine placental tissue obtained from normal and FGR pregnancies throughout gestation. Fetal cotyledon and maternal caruncle tissue concentrations of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 mRNA were assessed by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and protein concentrations were assessed by Western immunoblot analysis, at 55, 90 and 135 d gestational age (dGA). Concentrations of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 mRNA in FGR fetal cotyledons were increased at 55 dGA, and Tie-2 mRNA concentrations were decreased in FGR fetal cotyledons and maternal caruncles at 135 dGA. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated increased concentrations of Ang-2 in the fetal cotyledon at 55 dGA, and lower concentrations at 135 dGA. In contrast, concentrations of Tie-2 were increased at 90 dGA, but tended to decrease at 135 dGA in FGR maternal caruncles. The changes observed during early- to mid-gestation may result in increased branching angiogenesis, but may also set the stage for increased nonbranching angiogenesis during late gestation, altered placental architecture and placental insufficiency that result in FGR.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/timothy-regnault/32/