From apelin to exercise: Emerging therapies for management of hypertension in pregnancy

Jeffrey S. Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Studies over the last couple of decades have provided exciting new insights into mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. In addition, several novel and innovative molecules and ideas for management of the syndrome have also come forth. While our basic understanding of the initiating events of preeclampsia continues to be placental ischemia/hypoxia stimulating the release of a variety of factors from the placenta that act on the cardiovascular and renal systems, the number of candidate pathways for intervention continues to increase. Recent studies have identified apelin and its receptor, APJ, as an important contributor to the regulation of cardiovascular and fluid balance that is found to be disrupted in preeclampsia. Likewise, continued studies have revealed a critical role for the complement arm of the innate immune system in placental ischemia induced hypertension and in preeclampsia. Finally, the recent increase in animal models for studying hypertensive disorders of pregnancy has provided opportunities to evaluate the potential role for physical activity and exercise in a more mechanistic fashion. While the exact quantitative importance of the various endothelial and humoral factors that mediate vasoconstriction and elevation of arterial pressure during preeclampsia remains unclear, significant progress has been made. Thus, the goal of this review is to discuss recent efforts towards identifying therapies for hypertension during pregnancy that derive from work exploring the apelinergic system, the complement system as well as the role that exercise and physical activity may play to that end.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-525
Number of pages7
JournalHypertension Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the American Heart Association 10SDG2600040 and the National Institutes of Health HL114096 and a sub-contract from HD079547.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Japanese Society of Hypertension All rights reserved.


  • Blood pressure
  • physical activity
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy


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