Translatable mitochondria-targeted protection against programmed cardiovascular dysfunction

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Science Advances  19 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 34, eabb1929
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb1929


The prenatal origins of heart disease in offspring have been established. However, research in species with developmental milestones comparable to humans is lacking, preventing translation of this knowledge to clinical contexts. Using sheep and chickens, two species with similar cardiovascular developmental milestones to humans, we combined in vivo experiments with in vitro studies at organ, cellular, mitochondrial, and molecular levels. We tested mitochondria-targeted antioxidant intervention with MitoQ against cardiovascular dysfunction programmed by developmental hypoxia, a common complication in human pregnancy. Experiments in sheep determined in vivo fetal and adult cardiovascular function through surgical techniques not possible in humans, while those in chicken embryos isolated effects independent of maternal or placental influences. We show that hypoxia generates mitochondria-derived oxidative stress during cardiovascular development, programming endothelial dysfunction and hypertension in adult offspring. MitoQ treatment during hypoxic development protects against this cardiovascular risk via enhanced nitric oxide signaling, offering a plausible intervention strategy.

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