The Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, and the American Heart Association Strategically Focused Women’s Cardiovascular Health Research Center focuses on microvascular responses to the stress of pregnancy and placenta-related pregnancy disorders, which inform later life cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Pregnancy is a complex stressor for women, and complications such as preeclampsia have been associated with increased future CVD risk. Abnormal placental and maternal microvascular responses to pregnancy may unmask vascular risk and provide early insights into pathways for the development of CVD.
Our center aims to do the following:
- Document that vascular pathology in the placenta can identify women at high risk of CVD, 1 and 10 years post pregnancy;
- Assess whether erosion of glycocalyx, a protective coating on vascular endothelial cells, is a mechanism of microvascular dysfunction linking pregnancy complications and future CVD risk;
- Examine mouse models to determine whether pregnancy directly affects CVD, and if the nutrient l-citrulline can be used as a potential therapy to restore the glycocalyx and reduce the progression of atherosclerosis.
This research will generate insight into common mechanisms for vascular and placental pathology, and how pregnancy-related signals might be used to identify women at increased CVD risk later in life.
We have developed three synergistic research projects under our collective heading Women’s Cardiovascular Health and Microvascular Mechanisms: Novel Insights from Pregnancy:
- Project 1 (Population): Janet M. Catov, PhD; The placenta as a window to microvascular disease risk
- Project 2 (Clinical): Carl A. Hubel, PhD; Glycocalyx pathways linking pregnancy profile with microvascular dysfunction postpartum
- Project 3 (Basic): Robert W. Powers, PhD; The influence of pregnancy on future vascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis
For more information please visit our website: http://go-red-research.com