AICAR administration ameliorates hypertension and angiogenic imbalance in a model of preeclampsia in the rat

Christopher T Banek, Ashley J. Bauer, Karen M. Needham, Hans C. Dreyer, Jeff Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Previous studies suggest restoration of angiogenic balance can lower blood pressure and improve vascular endothelium function in models of preeclampsia. Our laboratory has recently reported exercise training mitigates hypertension in an animal model of preeclampsia, but the mechanisms are unknown. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is stimulated during exercise and has been shown to increase expression of VEGF. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether AICAR (5-aminoimidazole-4- carboxamide-3-ribonucleoside), a potent AMPK stimulator, would increase circulating VEGF, improve angiogenic potential, decrease oxidative stress, and abrogate placental ischemia-induced hypertension. In rats, reduced uteroplacental perfusion pressure (RUPP) was induced on day 14 of gestation by introducing silver clips on the inferior abdominal aorta and ovarian arteries. AICAR was administered intraperitoneally (50 mg/kg b.i.d.) days 14-18, and blood pressure and tissues were collected on day 19. RUPP-induced hypertension was ameliorated (P < 0.05) with AICAR versus RUPP. AICAR increased (P < 0.05) plasma VEGF and decreased (P < 0.05) plasma soluble VEGF receptor-1 in the RUPP + AICAR versus RUPP. Antioxidant capacity was restored (P < 0.05) by AICAR in RUPP placenta. Renal and placental catalase activity was decreased (P < 0.05) in RUPP + AICAR versus RUPP. Angiogenic potential was increased (P < 0.05) in RUPP + AICAR versus RUPP. Fetal and placental weights were unaffected by AICAR. Placental AMPK phosphorylation was increased (P < 0.05) in RUPP + AICAR versus normal pregnant and RUPP. These findings suggest AICAR may be useful to mitigate angiogenic imbalance, renal, and placental oxidative stress and increase in blood pressure associated with RUPP hypertension. Furthermore, placental AMPK phosphorylation was observed only in the setting of ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1159-H1165
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2013


  • 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-3-ribonucleoside
  • Angiogenic balance
  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia

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