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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neurokinin B causes concentration-dependent relaxation of isolated human placental resistance vessels.

Placental neurokinin B (NKB) was recently identified as the causative agent in preeclampsia, a condition characterized by increased maternal and feto-placental vascular resistance. We hypothesized that NKB should constrict placental resistance vessels. Placentas were obtained from normotensive pregnancies. Immediately after delivery, stem villous arteries (300 microm diameter, 1.2 mm long) were dissected from macroscopically normal tissue in cold HEPES-physiological salt solution (PSS), mounted on a wire myograph system, and bathed in HEPES-PSS at 37 degrees C. After determination of the passive-tension internal circumference characteristics, the arteries were set to 90% of the internal circumference they would have under a normal physiological transmural pressure. Cumulative concentration-response curves were constructed for NKB (1 x 10(-12) to 1 x 10(-5) mol/l). Since there was no constrictive response to NKB, cumulative constrictive concentration-response curves were constructed to the thromboxane A(2) mimetic U46619 (1 x 10(-9) to 1 x 10(-5) mol/l). The vessels were then pre-constricted to 80% of maximal response and exposed to cumulative concentrations of NKB (1 x 10(-12) to 1 x 10(-6) mol/l). NKB caused a concentration-dependent relaxation (Maximal response NKB, 51+/-5%, n=5; time control, 12+/-6%, n=4; P<0.05). Removal of the endothelium did not alter the vasodilatory response to NKB. We conclude that, contrary to our hypothesis, NKB causes an endothelium-independent relaxation of the placental resistance vessels. We propose that NKB plays a role in the maintenance of high placental blood flow in normal pregnancy.[1]


  1. Neurokinin B causes concentration-dependent relaxation of isolated human placental resistance vessels. Laliberte, C., DiMarzo, L., Morrish, D.W., Kaufman, S. Regul. Pept. (2004) [Pubmed]
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