Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemistry - Biochemistry

Research Sponsor

Dr. Rolando J. J. Ramirez

First Reader

Dr. Leah Shriver

Second Reader

Dr. Jordan Renna


Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disease of pregnant women that is known to cause detrimental physiological complications to both the mother and fetus. The hypertension hypothesized to result from endothelial dysfunction may be improved therapeutically by increasing Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor ligand concentration and it’s Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 2 (VEGF and VEGFR2). Together, this receptor pathway may help overall vasodilation of key blood vessels linking the mother and fetal placental unit, allowing for increased clinical pathologies of both. Previous studies have also linked increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in preeclamptic pregnancies to the damaged endothelial tissues of the placenta. This specific investigation will use RUPP model to measure the effect of increased VEGF and VEGFR2 expression on ROS production in placental tissues, measured using lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence (LECL). These results may help further characterize ROS role in hypertensive pregnancies physiological demise, and help indicate whether VEGFR may serve as a potential therapeutic in treating preeclampsia.