Sodium nitrite attenuates hypertension-in-pregnancy and blunts increases in soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 and in vascular endothelial growth factor.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play an important role in tissue remodeling that accompanies the rapid growth, differentiation, and structural changes of the placenta and several fetal organs. In the present study, we investigated whether the diabetic maternal environment may alter the regulatory homeostasis exerted by nitric oxide (NO) on MMPs activity in the feto-placental unit from rats at midgestation. We found that NADPH-diaphorase activity, which reflects the distribution and activity of NO synthases (NOS), was increased in both placenta and fetuses from diabetic rats when compared with controls. In addition, while a NO donor enhanced MMP2 and MMP9 activities, a NOS inhibitor reduced these activities in the maternal side of the placenta from control rats. This regulatory effect of NO was only observed on MMP9 in the diabetic group. On the other hand, the NO donor did not modify MMP2 and MMP9 activities, while the NOS inhibitor reduced MMP9 activity in the fetal side of both control and diabetic placentas. In the fetuses, MMP2 was enhanced by the NO donor and reduced by the NO inhibitor in both fetuses from control and diabetic rats. Overall, this study demonstrates that NO is able to modulate the activation of MMPs in the feto-placental unit, and provides supportive evidence that increased NOS activity leads to NO overproduction in the feto-placental unit from diabetic rats, an alteration closely related to the observed MMPs dysregulation that may have profound implications in the formation and function of the placenta and the fetal organs.