Introduction: Endoplasmic reticulum resident protein 44 (ERp44) is a zinc-metalloprotein, regulating Endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) and Angiotensin II (Ang II). We explored placental ERp44 expression and components of the renin-angiotensin-system (RAS) in pre-eclampsia (PE), correlating these to ERAP1 expression and placental zinc concentrations. Methods: Placental tissue, taken at time of delivery in normotensive women or women with PE (n = 12/group), were analysed for ERp44, AT1R, AT2R and AT4R by qPCR. Protein ERp44 expression was measured by immunohistochemistry and compared to previously measured ERAP1 expression. Placental zinc was measured by inductively-coupled-mass-spectrometry. Results: ERp44 gene/protein expression were increased in PE (P < 0.05). AT1R expression was increased (P = 0.02) but AT4R decreased (P = 0.01) in PE, compared to normotensive controls. A positive association between ERp44 and AT2R expression was observed in all groups. ERp44 was negatively correlated with ERAP1 protein expression in all samples. Placental zinc concentrations were lower in women with PE (P = 0.001) and negatively associated with ERp44 gene expression. Discussion: Increased placental ERp44 could further reduce ERAP1 release in PE, potentially preventing release of Ang IV and thus lowering levels of Ang IV which consequently diminishes the possibility of counterbalancing the activity of vasoconstrictive, Ang II. The lower placental zinc may contribute to dysfunction of the ERp44/ERAP1 complex, exacerbating the hypertension in PE.
- Hypertension in pregnancy
- Endoplasmic reticulum