3 years ago

Feto‐ and utero‐placental vascular adaptations to chronic maternal hypoxia in the mouse

Lisa X. Yu, Lindsay S. Cahill, Monique Y. Rennie, Christopher K. Macgowan, Johnathan Hoggarth, Mike Seed, John C. Kingdom, John G. Sled, Anum Rahman

Abstract

Key points

  • Chronic fetal hypoxia is one of the most common complications of pregnancy and is known to cause fetal growth restriction.
  • The structural adaptations of the placental vasculature responsible for growth restriction with chronic hypoxia are not well elucidated.
  • Using a mouse model of chronic maternal hypoxia in combination with micro‐computed tomography and scanning electron microscopy, we found several placental adaptations that were beneficial to fetal growth including capillary expansion, thinning of the interhaemal membrane and increased radial artery diameters, resulting in a large drop in total utero‐placental vascular resistance.
  • One of the mechanisms used to achieve the rapid increase in capillaries was intussusceptive angiogenesis, a strategy used in human placental development to form terminal gas‐exchanging villi.
  • These results contribute to our understanding of the structural mechanisms of the placental vasculature responsible for fetal growth restriction and provide a baseline for understanding adaptive physiological responses of the placenta to chronic hypoxia.

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