A Researcher From Texas A&M Has Uncovered New Data for the Treatment of Preeclampsia: Preclinical Research Shows PLX Cells May Be Effective in Treating Preeclampsia.
Preliminary research led by Brett Mitchell, PhD, an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) at Texas A&M University College of Medicine, is demonstrating that administrating placental stem cells may aid in reversing symptoms linked with preeclampsia within days after dosing with no apparent harmful effects to fetus or mother.
Preeclampsia may occur after the 20th week of pregnancy when the mother-to-be’s blood pressure has increased and there are signs of excessive protein in the urine. This condition affects somewhere between 6-8 percentage of pregnancies in the US, and can be serious, as there is a shift from protecting mother and fetus as immunologically privileged sites. This brings about vascular issues that involve the inability of blood vessels to dilate or relax.
Dr. Mitchel has been able to look at the immune cells that are responsible for the development of high blood pressure (hypertension) during pregnancy in hopes to develop new therapies that diminish the immune cells that are responsible for this action while maintaining normal immune cell function.
Mitchel and colleagues have taken mice that had preeclampsia and injected placenta-based cells (stem cells) known as PLX (Placentall eXpanded) into leg muscle. PLX cells are used as a way of delivering drugs and in particular therapeutic proteins in response to inflammatory and ischemic events. They tested eight groups of 2 separate animal models (preeclampsia models) and found that PLX cells were effective in treating preeclampsia.
They observed a reduction in systolic pressure to normal levels within 3 days and a reduction of urinary proteins within 4 days. They also observed an increase in endothelial function. This was measured by acetylcholine-induced relaxation and was effective within 4 days. A weight reduction of the spleen was also observed within 4 days. Pregnant mice who didn’t have preeclampsia were subjected to the same protocol and it was found that muscle injection of PLX cells did not effect a normal pregnancy. They also found that the number of pups or fetal demise in a litter were not different indicating that PLX cells caused no fetal harm.
Dr. Mitchel presented his findings at the Society for Gynecologic Investigation Summit in Jerusalem on May 30, 2013. Mitchell suggests that the factors that were secreted from the PLX cells were able to decrease inflammation thereby restoring endothelial function. Currently, there are no treatments available for preeclampsia, so this therapy looks promising.