Magnesium sulfate effectively reduces blood pressure in an animal model of preeclampsia

Cynthia A. Standley, Lyn Batia, Gloria Yueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective. We tested the ability of magnesium sulfate to reduce hypertension and neonatal growth retardation in an animal model of preeclampsia. Study design. On day 17 of pregnancy, osmotic minipumps were inserted subcutaneously to continuously deliver either vehicle (saline control group), or N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) (50 mg/kg/day), or L-NAME (50 mg/kg/day) in combination with magnesium sulfate (60 mg/kg/day). Prior to insertion, blood pressure and heart rate were monitored with a pneumatic tail cuff device. Blood pressure measurements were repeated on days 18, 20, and 21 of pregnancy. Blood was obtained on days 17 and 21, along with urine, to assess magnesium levels and degree of proteinuria. Pups were weighed and measured at 48 hours postpartum. Results. Rats receiving L-NAME developed hypertension within 24 hours of implantation (108 ± 3.9 vs. 123 ± 3.4 mmHg, p < 0.05). Magnesium sulfate, given along with L-NAME did not prevent mean blood pressure from increasing, but reduced it by day 21 compared to L-NAME given alone (107 ± 3.4 vs. 122 ± 8.7 mmHg, respectively, p < 0.05). Magnesium sulfate reduced neonatal growth retardation by improving the weight of the pups compared to pups from maternal rats given L-NAME alone (6.1 ± 0.1 vs. 5.2 ± 0.3 grams, respectively, p < 0.05). Conclusion. Maternal magnesium sulfate reduces blood pressure and increases neonatal size compared to L-NAME without magnesium. These findings support a beneficial effect of magnesium in preeclampsia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Hypertension
  • Magnesium
  • Nitric oxide
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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