The effect of sildenafil citrate and kraussianone-2 on pre-eclampsia-like manifestations in Sprague-Dawley rats.
Pre-eclampsia, often described as toxaemia of pregnancy, historically represents one of the most widely investigated conditions relating to human reproduction. To date no firm cure has been found and a clear, well defined mechanism has not been ascribed to the pathogenesis of the disease. Researchers seem to focus on single pathways in isolation of others. The disease rather represents a multitude of possible underlying pathologies nvolving genetics, immune dysregulation, vascular maladaptation, and sociobiological factors thus complicating the approach to treatment. However, a central theme is the presence of reduced placental perfusion resulting in a hypoxic and/or ischaemic placenta and the subsequent secretion of various factors that initiate the maternal syndrome. It is within this context that we examine how an intervention such as increasing placental perfusion may represent a promising treatment strategy for this disease. We sought to manipulate the vasodilatory mechanisms of the uterine vasculature using sildenafil citrate and a flavonoid extracted from Eriosema kraussianum (Kr2), in Sprague-Dawley rats that exhibited preeclampsia-like manifestations. Both treatment regimens improved fetal outcomes and reduced blood pressure amplification and proteinuria. They also reduced the plasma concentrations of the two anti-angiogenic factors; sFlt1 and sEng. Only sildenafil citrate improved nitric oxide levels which was expected, suggesting that Kr2 causes vasodilation by some other mechanism. Nevertheless, both compounds improved both pup and placental weights, suggesting that they also improve utero-placental perfusion. These findings that selective uterine vascular dilation improves placental perfusion may be promising in averting possible death to mothers and their babies from pre-eclampsia especially in low resource environments.