The activity of angiotensin II in the human placenta

Gershon Holcberg, Alaa Amash, Olga Sapir, Eyal Sheiner, Mahmoud Huleihel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is one of main regulators of blood pressure and electrolyte balance during pregnancy. All the components of the RAS have been reported to be expressed in the uteroplacental unit. Angiotensin (Ang) II is increasingly recognized as a growth factor, both in its own right and through interactions with other growth factors. Ang II synthesized in the placenta may serve as an autocrine/paracrine modulator of placental function. In addition to its role in regulation of blood pressure during normal pregnancy, Ang II is suggested to be involved in regulation of placentation through regulation of trophoblast invasion, angiogenesis and placental vascular development. These key effects of Ang II, in addition to its capacity to induce inflammatory response, suggest that increased vascular sensitivity to Ang II may have an important role in the increase in vascular such as intra-uterin growth retardation (IUGR) and preeclampsia. Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) is used in pregnancy as either prophylaxis/treatment for eclamptic seizures or for preterm labor tocolysis. Our group has shown that MgSO4 may attenuate Ang II induced placental vasoconstriction, and may affect Ang II induced placental cytokine production. This review summarizes the current understanding of the physiological aspects of Ang II in the uteroplacental unit and its role in the pathogenesis of pregnancy disorders such as preeclampsia. Furthermore, the possible interactions between Ang II and MgSO4 in the placental unit are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Placenta
Subtitle of host publicationStructure and Development, Circulation and Functions
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9781608764570
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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