European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology vol:81 issue:2 pages:177-84
OBJECTIVES:(1) To identify the distribution of renin-like immunoreactivity in placental bed, placenta-free uterine wall, placenta, fetal membranes, and intertwin membranes obtained from normal pregnancies and (2) to compare the findings in normal pregnancies with those in pregnancies complicated by various hypertensive disorders. STUDY DESIGN: Biopsies were taken from 31 normotensive pregnant women, eight of whom had twin pregnancies, and from 28 women with various hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The anti-human renal renin monoclonal antibody, F37.1A1, was used for immunostaining. Histological structures were identified with standard H&E and PAS techniques, supplemented with immunostaining using the specific cell markers CD68 and cytokeratin. RESULTS: Renin-like immunoreactivity was found in cytokeratin immunolabelled placental syncytiotrophoblast, amnionic and glandular epithelium, but most consistently in CD68 immunolabelled maternal and fetal macrophages. The distribution of renin-like immunoreactivity throughout the pregnant uterus roughly parallelled reported renin concentrations in the various tissues, while its localization conforms also with that of cathepsin D. There were no obvious differences in renin-like immunolabelling between normotensive or hypertensive women. Renin-like immunoreactivity was particularly common in the atherotic lesions that are observed more often in pregnancies complicated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and/or intra-uterine growth restriction. CONCLUSIONS: The data complement earlier findings showing that only two of four anti-renal renin monoclonal antibodies, both of which cross-react with cathepsin D, give a positive immunostaining in placental tissue. They question whether classical concepts on renin localisation in uteroplacental tissues all relate to one and the same enzyme. The demonstration of renin-like enzymes in different cell types, including macrophages, may explain the diversity of functions that has been attributed to uterine renin. There were no differences between tissues obtained from normotensive and hypertensive pregnancies, except for the consistent presence of renin-like immunoreactivity in atherotic lesions.