Abstract

The lectin-like oxidized low-density-lipoprotein (oxLDL) receptor-1 (LOX-1) has been shown to induce angiotensin II (AngII) type 1 receptor (AT1) activation, contributing to vascular dysfunction. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by vascular dysfunction and increased LOX-1 and AT1 activation; however, whether LOX-1 and AT1 activity contributes to vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia is unknown. We hypothesized that increased oxLDL levels during pregnancy lead to LOX-1 activation and subsequent AT1 activation, resulting in vascular dysfunction. Pregnant wild-type (WT) and transgenic LOX-1 overexpressing (LOX-1tg) mice were fed a control diet (CD) or high-cholesterol diet (HCD, to impair vascular function) between gestational day (GD) 13.5-GD18.5. On GD18.5, AngII-induced vasoconstriction and methylcholine (MCh)-induced endothelium-dependent vasodilation responses were assessed in aortas and uterine arteries. HCD decreased fetal weight and increased circulating oxLDL/cholesterol levels in WT, but not in LOX-1tg mice. HCD did not alter AngII responsiveness or AT1 expression in both vascular beds; however, AngII responsiveness and AT1 expression were lower in aortas from LOX-1tg compared with WT mice. In aortas from WT-CD mice, acute oxLDL exposure induced AT1-mediated vasoconstriction via LOX-1. HCD impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation and increased superoxide levels in WT aortas, but not uterine arteries. Moreover, in WT-CD mice oxLDL decreased MCh sensitivity in both vascular beds, partially via LOX-1. In summary, HCD impaired pregnancy outcomes and vascular function, and oxLDL-induced LOX-1 activation may contribute to vascular dysfunction via AT1. Our study suggests that LOX-1 could be a potential target to prevent adverse outcomes associated with vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia.

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