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The Effects of Early-Onset Pre-Eclampsia on Placental Creatine Metabolism in the Third Trimester

The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, and Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Monash University, Clayton 3168 Australia
Department of Pharmacology, Monash University, and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne 3010, Australia
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong 3216, Australia
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, School of Life and Environmental Science, Deakin University, Burwood, Melbourne 3125, Australia
School of Health & Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne 3082, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 806;
Received: 10 December 2019 / Revised: 24 January 2020 / Accepted: 24 January 2020 / Published: 26 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Preeclampsia)
Creatine is a metabolite important for cellular energy homeostasis as it provides spatio-temporal adenosine triphosphate (ATP) buffering for cells with fluctuating energy demands. Here, we examined whether placental creatine metabolism was altered in cases of early-onset pre-eclampsia (PE), a condition known to cause placental metabolic dysfunction. We studied third trimester human placentae collected between 27–40 weeks’ gestation from women with early-onset PE (n = 20) and gestation-matched normotensive control pregnancies (n = 20). Placental total creatine and creatine precursor guanidinoacetate (GAA) content were measured. mRNA expression of the creatine synthesizing enzymes arginine:glycine aminotransferase (GATM) and guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT), the creatine transporter (SLC6A8), and the creatine kinases (mitochondrial CKMT1A & cytosolic BBCK) was assessed. Placental protein levels of arginine:glycine aminotransferase (AGAT), GAMT, CKMT1A and BBCK were also determined. Key findings; total creatine content of PE placentae was 38% higher than controls (p < 0.01). mRNA expression of GATM (p < 0.001), GAMT (p < 0.001), SLC6A8 (p = 0.021) and BBCK (p < 0.001) was also elevated in PE placentae. No differences in GAA content, nor protein levels of AGAT, GAMT, BBCK or CKMT1A were observed between cohorts. Advancing gestation and birth weight were associated with a down-regulation in placental GATM mRNA expression, and a reduction in GAA content, in control placentae. These relationships were absent in PE cases. Our results suggest PE placentae may have an ongoing reliance on the creatine kinase circuit for maintenance of cellular energetics with increased total creatine content and transcriptional changes to creatine synthesizing enzymes and the creatine transporter. Understanding the functional consequences of these changes warrants further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: placental bioenergetics 1; phosphocreatine 2; metabolism 3; obstetrics 4 placental bioenergetics 1; phosphocreatine 2; metabolism 3; obstetrics 4
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ellery, S.J.; Murthi, P.; Della Gatta, P.A.; May, A.K.; Davies-Tuck, M.L.; Kowalski, G.M.; Callahan, D.L.; Bruce, C.R.; Wallace, E.M.; Walker, D.W.; Dickinson, H.; Snow, R.J. The Effects of Early-Onset Pre-Eclampsia on Placental Creatine Metabolism in the Third Trimester. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 806.

AMA Style

Ellery SJ, Murthi P, Della Gatta PA, May AK, Davies-Tuck ML, Kowalski GM, Callahan DL, Bruce CR, Wallace EM, Walker DW, Dickinson H, Snow RJ. The Effects of Early-Onset Pre-Eclampsia on Placental Creatine Metabolism in the Third Trimester. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(3):806.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ellery, Stacey J., Padma Murthi, Paul A. Della Gatta, Anthony K. May, Miranda L. Davies-Tuck, Greg M. Kowalski, Damien L. Callahan, Clinton R. Bruce, Euan M. Wallace, David W. Walker, Hayley Dickinson, and Rod J. Snow 2020. "The Effects of Early-Onset Pre-Eclampsia on Placental Creatine Metabolism in the Third Trimester" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21, no. 3: 806.

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