Role of oxygen in fetoplacental endothelial responses: Hypoxia, physiological normoxia, or hyperoxia?

Chi Zhou, Qing Yun Zou, Yi Zhou Jiang, Jing Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Zhou C, Zou QY, Jiang YZ, Zheng J. Role of oxygen in fetoplacental endothelial responses: hypoxia, physiological normoxia, or hyperoxia? Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 318: C943-C953, 2020. First published April 8, 2020; doi:10.1152/ajpcell.00528.2019.-During pregnancy, placental vascular growth, which is essential for supporting the rapidly growing fetus, is associated with marked elevations in blood flow. These vascular changes take place under chronic physiological low O2 (less than 2-8% O2 in human; chronic physiological normoxia, CPN) throughout pregnancy. O2 level below CPN pertinent to the placenta results in placental hypoxia. Such hypoxia can cause severe endothelial dysfunction, which is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g., preeclampsia) and high risk of adult-onset cardiovascular diseases in children born to these pregnancy complications. However, our current knowledge about the mechanisms underlying fetoplacental endothelial function is derived primarily from cell models established under atmospheric O2 (~21% O2 at sea level, hyperoxia). Recent evidence has shown that fetoplacental endothelial cells cultured under CPN have distinct gene expression profiles and cellular responses compared with cells cultured under chronic hyperoxia. These data indicate the critical roles of CPN in programming fetal endothelial function and prompt us to re-examine the mechanisms governing fetoplacental endothelial function under CPN. Better understanding these mechanisms will facilitate us to develop preventive and therapeutic strategies for endothelial dysfunction-Associated diseases (e.g., preeclampsia). This review will provide a brief summary on the impacts of CPN on endothelial function and its underlying mechanisms with a focus on fetoplacental endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C943-C953
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • endothelial cells
  • hyperoxia
  • hypoxia
  • oxygen
  • physiological low oxygen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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