Preeclampsia is a hypertensive pregnancy disorder characterized by development of hypertension and proteinuria after 20 weeks of gestation that remains a leading cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. While preeclampsia is believed to result from complex interactions between maternal and placental factors, the proximate pathophysiology of this syndrome remains elusive. Cell-to-cell communication is a critical signaling mechanism for feto-placental development in normal pregnancies. One mechanism of cellular communication relates to activated cell-derived sealed membrane vesicles called extracellular vesicles (EVs). The concentrations and contents of EVs in biological fluids depend upon their cells of origin and the stimuli which trigger their production. Research on EVs in preeclampsia has focused on EVs derived from the maternal vasculature (endothelium, vascular smooth muscle) and blood (erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets), as well as placental syncytiotrophoblasts. Changes in the concentrations and contents of these EVs may contribute to the pathophysiology of preeclampsia by accentuating the pro-inflammatory and pro-coagulatory states of pregnancy. This review focuses on possible interactions among placental- and maternal-derived EVs and their contents in the initiation and progression of the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Understanding the contributions of EVs in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia may facilitate their use as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.
- Cell-cell communication
- Hypertensive pregnancy disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine