GRK2 levels in umbilical arteries of pregnancies complicated by gestational hypertension and preeclampsia

Raffaele Napolitano, Alfonso Campanile, Laura Sarno, Antonio Anastasio, Giuseppe M. Maruotti, Maddalena Morlando, Bruno Trimarco, Pasquale Martinelli, Guido Iaccarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background G-Protein coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) represents a regulator of cell function in different cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure. The relationship between elevated GRK2 levels and impaired vasorelaxant responses is causative of hypertension through the increase in vascular resistances. The aim of this study is to ascertain if this feature is present in the fetal placental vasculature of pregnancies complicated by hypertensive disorders. Methods We have assessed GRK2 levels in the umbilical arteries (UA) of 21 preeclamptic or gestational hypertensive and 23 normotensive women at time of delivery. Results GRK2 levels were increased in the hypertensive group (0.83 ± 0.14 vs. 0.48 ± 0.06 densitometry units; P<0.05). GRK2 levels were in correlation and in linear regression with systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressure (P<0.05, r 2 = 0.12, r 2 = 0.11, r 2 = 0.12). Correlations did not reach a significant value for other clinical parameters such as gestational age at birth, umbilical artery pulsatility index, maternal proteinuria, and neonatal birth weight. Out of the 21 hypertensive women, 7 who developed a preeclampsia associated with early preterm delivery (before 34 weeks) had a significantly lower GRK2 levels compared to the remaining 14 (0.51± 0.12 vs. 1.08± 0.20 densitometry units, P<0.05). Conclusions We conclude that elevated GRK2 levels in the umbilical vasculature is correlated to elevated blood pressure levels, with a likely compensatory rather than causative role since the lack of protective effect of elevated GRK2 levels may negatively affect the outcome of the hypertensive state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-371
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • blood pressure
  • G proteins
  • hypertension
  • hypertension in pregnancy
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy
  • protein kinases
  • vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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