Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Physiology and Biophysics

First Advisor

Scott Walsh

Second Advisor

Robert Diegelmann

Third Advisor

Roland Pittman


Placental dysfunction is implicated in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Chemical signals between the placenta and maternal circulation are a suspect cause of endothelial dysfunction and maternal hypertension. This study examined select lipid mediators of inflammation produced by the placenta. Patients were recruited from Virginia Commonwealth University’s pregnancy clinics and placentas were collected at delivery. Forty-eight-hour explant cultures of villous placental tissue were used to model lipid production. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry was used to quantify concentrations of free lipids in the culture media. Bicinchoninic acid assays were performed to quantify protein in each culture for normalization of lipid data. After analysis, it was found that severity of preeclampsia was correlated with a unique lipid profile. Pro-inflammatory hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids and sphingolipids were elevated. Aspirin usage in patients who developed preeclampsia was found to attenuate accumulation of isoprostane oxidative stress markers and thromboxane production while preserving omega-3-fatty acid and increasing prostacyclin levels.


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Available for download on Tuesday, July 25, 2023