Microparticles of pregnant women and preeclamptic patients activate endothelial cells in the presence of monocytes

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2012 Mar;67(3):206-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0897.2011.01079.x. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


Problem: Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific disorder that may result from an adverse maternal response to circulating placenta-derived factors, causing a systemic inflammation including endothelial activation. Plasma from preeclamptic patients was shown to induce endothelial activation in the presence of monocytes. We investigated whether microparticles (MP) are the plasma factors causing this activation of endothelial cells.

Method of study: Monocultures and co-cultures of monocytes and endothelial cells were incubated with plasma, MP-poor plasma or isolated MP from non-pregnant and pregnant women and preeclamptic patients (each n = 8). ICAM-1 expression was analyzed with flow cytometry.

Results: The expression of ICAM-1 was significantly increased in monocytes and endothelial cells in co-cultures after the addition of isolated MP from preeclamptic patients (P = 0.017) and to a lesser extent in pregnant women (P = 0.012) compared to non-pregnant controls.

Conclusions: Microparticles from preeclamptic patients activate endothelial cells in the presence of monocytes. Whether all MP have the same effect on monocytes and endothelial cells or only a specific subgroup is the focus of future research.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / immunology*
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / immunology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1