Skip to main content
Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2021 Abstracts

Determination of the Relationship Between Hypertension and Endogenous Ouabain Placental Concentration in Preeclampsia

Presenters: Samantha Tilley, College of Science, Chemistry
Authors: Samantha Tilley, Clayton Rawson, Kevin Ludwig, Sadie Johnson, Rawly Lyle, Dr. Steven Herron
Faculty Advisor: Steven Herron, College of Science, Chemistry
Institution: Utah Valley University

Preeclampsia (PE) is the leading cause of maternal death in first world countries, yet the pathophysiologic understanding of this condition has been a scientific enigma. There is evidence of steroidal factors, Endogenous Ouabains (EOs), with a suspected role in PE due to Na+/K+-ATPase inhibition and subsequent hypertension. A certain amount of EOs naturally occur in normotensive (NT) women but are predicted to be upregulated in women with PE. Prior studies have compared the functionality of the sodium-potassium pump in NT and PE samples, but direct binding of EOs was not determined. Previous research has supported the presence of cardiac glycosides in preeclamptic women by measuring sodium-pump activity before and after the administration of DigibindⓇ, a biologic antidote to another cardiac glycoside, digitalis. However, quantification and structure determination of the cardiac glycosides was not concluded. Our research intends to elucidate the relationship between EO concentration in PE versus NT placental samples. Using a thermal shift assay, the direct binding of Digifab antibodies to EOs can be measured, supporting the relationship between the concentration relationship of EOs within PE placental tissue. Heat denaturation data was collected after administration of protein-depleted placental homogenate to antibodies by using fluorophores to capture the peak melting temperature of the inoculated antibodies. A shift in melting temperature would serve as evidence of binding. Subsequent analysis using liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry will provide insight into the structure of the EOs by delivering chromatographic peak concentration data along with some possible mass spectral data on placental components. This research provides evidence supporting a correlation between upregulated EOs and preeclampsia, as well as providing further elucidation on the structural components of EOs, providing insight into the pathology of preeclampsia. This data will be able to support future investigation that will assist in the treatment of PE women.