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Masaru Negi, Melissa J Mulla, Christina S Han and Vikki M Abrahams

Pre-gestational diabetes is a risk factor for preeclampsia, a condition associated with inflammatory markers, a dysregulated angiogenic profile, and impaired placentation. Using an in vitro model, we previously reported that hyperglycemic levels of glucose induced a pro-inflammatory (IL-1β, IL-8, RANTES, GRO-α), anti-angiogenic (sFlt-1) and anti-migratory profile in a human trophoblast cell line. The IL-1β response to excess glucose was mediated by uric acid-induced activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor that inhibits uric acid and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Thus, we sought to test the effects of allopurinol on the IL-1β and other inflammatory, angiogenic and migratory responses that are triggered in the trophoblast by excess glucose. Under excess glucose conditions, allopurinol significantly inhibited trophoblast secretion of inflammatory IL-1β; caspase-1 activity; IL-8; RANTES; and GRO-α. Allopurinol also significantly inhibited excess glucose-induced trophoblast secretion of anti-angiogenic sFlt-1. The presence of IL1Ra significantly inhibited excess glucose-induced trophoblast IL-8 and GRO-α secretion but had no effect on RANTES or sFlt-1. Conversely, DPI, a ROS inhibitor, significantly inhibited excess glucose-induced trophoblast GRO-α and sFlt-1 secretion, but had no effect on IL-8 or RANTES. Together, our findings indicate that the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol inhibited excess glucose-induced trophoblast IL-1β secretion. Additionally, through its inhibition of both IL-1β and ROS production by the trophoblast, allopurinol reduced the additional pro-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic responses to excess glucose. Thus, allopurinol may be a candidate medication to prevent placental dysfunction and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preeclampsia, in pregnant women with diabetes.