Exercise training attenuates placental ischemia-induced hypertension and angiogenic imbalance in the rat

Jeffrey S. Gilbert, Christopher T. Banek, Ashley J. Bauer, Anne Gingery, Karen Needham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


An imbalance between proangiogenic (vascular endothelial growth factor) and antiangiogenic (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1) factors plays an important role in hypertension associated with reduced uteroplacental perfusion (RUPP). Exercise has been shown to stimulate proangiogenic factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, in both the pregnant and nonpregnant state; thus, we hypothesized that exercise training would attenuate both angiogenic imbalance and hypertension attributed to RUPP. Four groups of animals were studied, RUPP and normal pregnant controls and normal pregnant and RUPP+exercise training. Exercise training attenuated RUPP-induced hypertension (P<0.05), decreased soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (P<0.05), increased VEGF (P<0.05), and elevated the soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1:vascular endothelial growth factor ratio. The positive effects of exercise on angiogenic balance in the RUPP rats were confirmed by restoration (P<0.05) of the RUPP-induced decrease in endothelial tube formation in human umbilical vascular endothelial cells treated with serum from each of the experimental groups. Placental prolyl hydroxylase 1 was increased (P<0.05) in RUPP+exercise training rats. Decreased trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity in the placenta, amniotic fluid, and kidney of the RUPP rats was reversed by exercise. RUPP-induced increase in renal thiobarbituric acid reactive species was attenuated by exercise. The present data show that exercise training before and during pregnancy attenuates placental ischemia-induced hypertension, angiogenic imbalance, and oxidative stress in the RUPP rat and reveals that increased prolyl hydroxylase 1 is associated with decreased soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1, thus revealing several potential pathways for exercise training to mitigate the effects of placental ischemia-induced hypertension. Lastly, the present study demonstrates that exercise training may be a useful approach to attenuate the development of placental ischemia-induced hypertension during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1545-1551
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • blood pressure
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy
  • vascular endothelial growth factor A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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