Midgestation Leptin Infusion Induces Characteristics of Clinical Preeclampsia in Mice, Which Is Ablated by Endothelial Mineralocorticoid Receptor Deletion

Jessica L. Faulkner, Derrian Wright, Galina Antonova, Iris Z. Jaffe, Simone Kennard, Eric J.Belin De Chantemèle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with preeclampsia demonstrate increases in placental leptin production in midgestation, and an associated increase in late gestation plasma leptin levels. The consequences of mid-late gestation increases in leptin production in pregnancy is unknown. Our previous work indicates that leptin infusion induces endothelial dysfunction in nonpregnant female mice via leptin-mediated aldosterone production and endothelial mineralocorticoid receptor (ECMR) activation, which is ablated by ECMR deletion. Therefore, we hypothesized that leptin infusion in mid-gestation of pregnancy induces endothelial dysfunction and hypertension, hallmarks of clinical preeclampsia, which are prevented by ECMR deletion. Methods: Leptin was infused via miniosmotic pump (0.9 mg/kg per day) into timed-pregnant ECMR-intact (WT) and littermate-mice with ECMR deletion (KO) on gestation day (GD)11-18. Results: Leptin infusion decreased fetal weight and placental efficiency in WT mice compared with WT+vehicle. Radiotelemetry recording demonstrated that blood pressure increased in leptin-infused WT mice during infusion. Leptin infusion reduced endothelial-dependent relaxation responses to acetylcholine (ACh) in both resistance (second-order mesenteric) and conduit (aorta) vessels in WT pregnant mice. Leptin infusion increased placental ET-1 (endothelin-1) production evidenced by increased PPET-1 (preproendothelin-1) and ECE-1 (endothelin-converting enzyme-1) expressions in WT mice. Adrenal aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) and angiotensin II type 1 receptor b (AT1Rb) expression increased with leptin infusion in pregnant WT mice. KO pregnant mice demonstrated protection from leptin-induced reductions in pup weight, placental efficiency, increased BP, and endothelial dysfunction. Conclusions: Collectively, these data indicate that leptin infusion in midgestation induces endothelial dysfunction, hypertension, and fetal growth restriction in pregnant mice, which is ablated by ECMR deletion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1536-1547
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Endothelial function
  • hypertension
  • leptin
  • mice
  • preeclampsia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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