Reproductive Sciences

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 298–305 | Cite as

Differential Effect of Intrauterine Hypoxia on Caspase 3 and DNA Fragmentation in Fetal Guinea Pig Hearts and Brains

  • LaShauna C. Evans
  • Hongshan Liu
  • Loren P. ThompsonEmail author
Original Articles


The aim of this study is to quantify the effect of intrauterine hypoxia (HPX) and the role of nitric oxide (NO) on the apoptotic enzyme, caspase 3, and DNA fragmentation in fetal heart and brain. Hypoxia and NO are important regulators of apoptosis, although this has been little studied in the fetal organs. We investigated the effect of intrauterine HPX on apoptosis and the role of NO in both fetal hearts and brains. Pregnant guinea pigs were exposed to room temperature (N = 14) or 10.5% O2 (N = 12) for 14 days prior to term (term = 65 days) and administered water or l-N6-(1-iminoethyl)-lysine (LNIL), an inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibitor, for 10 days. Fetal hearts and brains were excised from anesthetized near-term fetuses for study. Chronic HPX decreased pro- and active caspase 3, caspase 3 activity, and DNA fragmentation levels in fetal hearts compared with normoxic controls. l-N6-(1-iminoethyl)-lysine prevented the HPX-induced decrease in caspase 3 activity but did not alter DNA fragmentation levels. In contrast, chronic HPX increased both apoptotic indices in fetal brains, which were inhibited by LNIL. Thus, the effect of HPX on apoptosis differs between fetal organs, and NO may play an important role in modulating these effects.


fetal hypoxia apoptosis nitric oxide heart brain 


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Copyright information

© Society for Reproductive Investigation 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • LaShauna C. Evans
    • 1
  • Hongshan Liu
    • 1
  • Loren P. Thompson
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Bressler Research Building, Room 11-031University of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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