We aim to investigate whether A2A/nitric oxide-mediated regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression is impaired in feto-placental endothelial cells from late-onset pre-eclampsia. Cultures of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and human placental microvascular endothelial cells (hPMECs) from normal and pre-eclamptic pregnancies were used. Assays by using small interference RNA (siRNA) for A2A were performed, and transfected cells were used for estimation of messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of VEGF, as well as for cell proliferation and angiogenesis in vitro. CGS-21680 (A2A agonist, 24 h) increases HUVEC and hPMEC proliferation in a dose response manner. Furthermore, similar to CGS-21680, the nitric oxide donor, S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine oxide (SNAP), increased cell proliferation in a dose response manner (logEC50 10-9.2 M). In hPMEC, CGS-21680 increased VEGF protein levels in both normal (∼1.5-fold) and pre-eclamptic pregnancies (∼1.2-fold), an effect blocked by the A2Aantagonist, ZM-241385 (10-5 M) and the inhibitor of NO synthase, N ω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (L-NAME). Subsequently, SNAP partially recovered cell proliferation and in vitro angiogenesis capacity of cells from normal pregnancies exposed to siRNA for A2A. CGS-21680 also increased (∼1.5-fold) the level of VEGF mRNA in HUVEC from normal pregnancies, but not in pre-eclampsia. Additionally, transfection with siRNA for A2A decrease (∼30 %) the level of mRNA for VEGF in normal pregnancy compared to untransfected cells, an effect partially reversed by co-incubation with SNAP. The A2A-NO-VEGF pathway is present in endothelium from microcirculation and macrocirculation in both normal and pre-eclamptic pregnancies. However, NO signaling pathway seems to be impaired in HUVEC from pre-eclampsia.
A2A; Adenosine; Angiogenesis; Nitric oxide; Pre-eclampsia; VEGF.