Impaired sodium-dependent adaptation of arterial stiffness in formerly preeclamptic women: The RETAP-vascular study

Anne Marijn van der Graaf, Nina D. Paauw, Tsjitske J. Toering, Martin Feelisch, Marijke M. Faas, Thomas R. Sutton, Magdalena Minnion, Joop D. Lefrandt, Sicco A. Scherjon, Arie Franx, Gerjan Navis, A. Titia Lely*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Women with a history of preeclampsia have an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases later in life. Persistent vascular alterations in the postpartum period might contribute to this increased risk. The current study assessed arterial stiffness under low sodium (LS) and high sodium (HS) conditions in a well-characterized group of formerly early-onset preeclamptic (fPE) women and formerly pregnant (fHP) women. Eighteen fHP and 18 fPE women were studied at an average of 5 yr after pregnancy on 1 wk of LS (50 mmol Na+/day) and 1 wk of HS (200 mmol Na+/day) intake. Arterial stiffness was measured by pulse-wave analysis (aortic augmentation index, AIx) and carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (PWV). Circulating markers of the renin-angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS), extracellular volume (ECV), nitric oxide (NO), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) were measured in an effort to identify potential mechanistic elements underlying adaptation of arterial stiffness. AIx was significantly lower in fHP women on LS compared with HS while no difference in AIx was apparent in fPE women. PWV remained unchanged upon different sodium loads in either group. Comparable sodium-dependent changes in RAAS, ECV, and NO/H2S were observed in fHP and fPE women. fPE women have an impaired ability to adapt their arterial stiffness in response to changes in sodium intake, independently of blood pressure, RAAS, ECV, and NO/H2S status. The pathways involved in impaired adaptation of arterial stiffness, and its possible contribution to the increased long-term risk for cardiovascular diseases in fPE women, remain to be investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1827-H1833
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Augmentation index
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Formerly preeclamptic women
  • Preeclampsia
  • Sodium intake


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