Although Viagra didn't actually lower mothers' blood pressure, "it did produce some very significant and beneficial effects on pregnancy-induced vascular adaptation and fetal outcome," according to senior author/laboratory head, George Osol, professor and director of research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington.
*Paper presentation: "Beneficial effects of Viagra on fetal and vascular parameters in hypertensive pregnancy in the rat," 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday April 5, Physiology 909.9/board #A134. On view 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Research was performed by George Osol, Gerard Celia and Natalia I. Gokina, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, with the assistance of lab technician Keara McElroy-Yaggy.
Osol and his team are presenting the research at the 35th Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences in San Diego, March 31 - April 5, 2005.
Osol said that when given to pregnant rats with induced hypertension, Viagra:
1. Helped arteries of the uterus grow as they should during pregnancy. "Hypertension decreases the growth and alters contractility of blood vessels in the uterus," Osol said, "but giving Viagra reversed these effects, resulting in improved function of the uterine circulation." Arterial diameters of Viagra-treated animals didn't quite match control (normal) values, "but were significantly larger than those with hypertension, suggesting that it may have increased blood flow to the uterus and placenta," Osol added.