We have developed a model of preeclampsia in the rat by administering desoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA) and replacing their drinking water with 0.9% saline. The preeclamptic group (PDS group) showed several phenotypic characteristics of human preeclampsia, including increased blood pressure (BP), intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and proteinuria, when compared to the normal pregnant (NP) control group. To better understand this syndrome, we measured the nitric oxide (NO) in blood. NO has been reported to be implicated in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. We also studied two other pregnant animal groups, one receiving only saline but no DOCA (PS) and the second receiving only DOCA with normal drinking water (PD). The results are as follows (data are means ± SD): (Table)
We conclude that DOCA is largely responsible for the IUGR but the complete preeclamptic syndrome will not develop without saline. A possible explanation would be that saline is producing an initial status of volume expansion with increased cardiac output. The latter may trigger exaggerated renal hypertrophy, activation of the RAA, as well as release of growth and vasoconstrictive (and natriuretic) factors. Similar observations have been made in the preeclamptic patient.
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