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ABSTRACT

Placentas of women suffering from pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) were found to contain a greater amount of Na,K-ATPase molecules, estimated from anthroyl ouabain binding, than normotensive individuals. Both the microsomal fraction of placental cells and purified Na,K-ATPase showed an increased affinity for the specific inhibitor ouabain which, in the case of the microsomes, bound with a dissociation constant of 0.9 nM as compared with 3.4 nM in the controls. Likewise, the dissociation constant of the ouabain complex with purified Na,K-ATPase was about 3.5 times lower in the hypertensive patients. The differences are apparently caused by a different microenvironment of the ouabain-binding site, as reflected in the quantum yield of bound anthroyl ouabain. If an endogenous digitalis-like factor is present in the body fluids to regulate Na,K-ATPase activity, the present results render its role quite plausible.