Chronic hypoxia increases pressure-dependent myogenic tone of the uterine artery in pregnant sheep: role of ERK/PKC pathway
L. D Longo
Chronic hypoxia during pregnancy has profound effects on uterine artery (UA) contractility and attenuates uterine blood flow. The present study tested the hypothesis that chronic hypoxia inhibits the pregnancy-induced reduction in pressure-dependent myogenic tone of resistance-sized UAs. UAs were isolated from nonpregnant ewes (NPUAs) and near-term pregnant ewes (PUAs) that had been maintained at sea level (~300 m) or at high altitude (3,801 m) for 110 days. In normoxic animals, the pressure-dependent myogenic response was significantly attenuated in PUAs compared with NPUAs. Hypoxia significantly increased myogenic tone in PUAs and abolished its difference between PUAs and NPUAs. Consistently, there was a significant increase in PKC-mediated baseline Ca2+ sensitivity of PUAs in hypoxic animals. Hypoxia significantly increased phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu)-induced contractions in PUAs but not in NPUAs. Whereas the inhibition of ERK1/2 by PD-98059 potentiated PDBu-mediated contractions of PUAs in normoxic animals, it failed to do so in hypoxic animals. Hypoxia decreased ERK1/2 expression in PUAs. PDBu induced membrane translocation of PKC- and PKC-. Whereas there were no significant differences in PKC- translocation among all groups, the translocation of PKC- was significantly enhanced in NPUAs compared with PUAs in normoxic animals, and hypoxia significantly increased PKC- translocation in PUAs. In the presence of PD-98059, there were no significant differences in PDBu-induced PKC- translocation among all groups. Treatment of PUAs isolated from normoxic animals with 10.5% O2 for 48 h ex vivo significantly increased PDBu-induced contractions and eliminated its difference between PUAs and NPUAs. The results suggest that hypoxia upregulates pressure-dependent myogenic tone through its direct effect in suppressing ERK1/2 activity and increasing the PKC signal pathway, leading to an increase in the Ca2+ sensitivity of the myogenic mechanism in the UA during pregnancy.