LPCAT1 levels in the placenta, the maternal plasma and the fetal plasma do not predict fetal lung responses to glucocorticoids in a sheep model of pregnancy

Tsukasa Takahashi, Erin L. Fee, Yuki Takahashi, Haruo Usuda, Sean W.D. Carter, Hideyuki Ikeda, Masatoshi Saito, Yusaku Kumagai, James P. Bridges, Alan H. Jobe, Mahesh A. Choolani, Matthew W. Kemp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 1 (LPCAT1) is important for saturated phosphatidylcholine (Sat-PC) production in the lung. Sat-PC is a critical component of pulmonary surfactant, which maintains low alveolar surface tension, facilitating respiration. Previous studies have reported an association between maternal and fetal LPCAT1 levels and neonatal lung function. Using a sheep model of pregnancy, we investigated a potential correlation between glucocorticoid-induced lung maturation and LPCAT1 mRNA and/or protein levels in the fetal lung, the placenta, the fetal plasma, and the maternal plasma. Methods: Eighty seven single pregnant ewes received maternal intramuscular injections of betamethasone. A sub-group of five animals had both maternal and fetal catheters installed to allow for sequential sampling from both plasma compartments. Lambs were surgically delivered under terminal anaesthesia between 2 and 8 days after initial ANS treatment, at a gestational age of 121–123 days. Lambs were ventilated for 30 min to determine functional lung maturation before being euthanized for necropsy and sample collection. Fetal lung, placenta, and fetal and maternal plasma samples were used to analyse LPCAT1 gene expression and protein levels. Results: The expression of LPCAT1 mRNA in the fetal lung was significantly corelated to Sat-PC levels at 8 days (R2 = 0.23, p < 0.001) and lung maturation status overall (gas exchange efficiency as determined by measurements of lamb PaCO2 during ventilation, R2 = 0.20, p < 0.001). Similarly, fetal lung LPCAT1 mRNA was also significantly correlated with the individual durability of ANS effects on fetal lung maturation (R2 = 0.20, p < 0.001). Although ANS therapy altered LPCAT1 mRNA expression in the placenta, observed changes were independent of fetal lung maturation outcomes. Neither maternal nor fetal plasma LPCAT1 levels were changed by ANS therapy over the period, including in analysis of serial maternal and fetal samples from chronically catheterised animals. Discussion: LPCAT1 expression in the fetal lung was associated with the durability of glucocorticoid effects on fetal lung maturation. However, LPCAT1 expression in the placenta, the fetal plasma, and the maternal plasma was neither associated with, nor predictive of fetal lung maturation after glucocorticoid treatment in a sheep model of pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


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