Sildenafil citrate increases fetal weight in a mouse model of fetal growth restriction with a normal vascular phenotype.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Irene Andersson
  • Lewis James Renshall
  • Elizabeth Cowley
  • Philip Baker
  • Mark Wareing

Abstract

Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is defined as the inability of a fetus to achieve its genetic growth potential and is associated with a significantly increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Clinically, FGR is diagnosed as a fetus falling below the 5(th) centile of customised growth charts. Sildenafil citrate (SC, Viagra™), a potent and selective phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor, corrects ex vivo placental vascular dysfunction in FGR, demonstrating potential as a therapy for this condition. However, many FGR cases present without an abnormal vascular phenotype, as assessed by Doppler measures of uterine/umbilical artery blood flow velocity. Thus, we hypothesized that SC would not increase fetal growth in a mouse model of FGR, the placental-specific Igf2 knockout mouse, which has altered placental exchange capacity but normal placental blood flow. Fetal weights were increased (by 8%) in P0 mice following maternal SC treatment (0.4 mg/ml) via drinking water. There was also a trend towards increased placental weight in treated P0 mice (P = 0.056). Additionally, 75% of the P0 fetal weights were below the 5(th) centile, the criterion used to define human FGR, of the non-treated WT fetal weights; this was reduced to 51% when dams were treated with SC. Umbilical artery and vein blood flow velocity measures confirmed the lack of an abnormal vascular phenotype in the P0 mouse; and were unaffected by SC treatment. (14)C-methylaminoisobutyric acid transfer (measured to assess effects on placental nutrient transporter activity) per g placenta was unaffected by SC, versus untreated, though total transfer was increased, commensurate with the trend towards larger placentas in this group. These data suggest that SC may improve fetal growth even in the absence of an abnormal placental blood flow, potentially affording use in multiple sub-populations of individuals presenting with FGR.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere77748
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013