Platelet-activating factor: a role in preterm delivery and an essential interaction with Toll-like receptor signaling in mice

Biol Reprod. 2014 Nov;91(5):119. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.113.116012. Epub 2014 Sep 24.


Platelet-activating factor (PAF), a potent phospholipid activator of inflammation that signals through its cognate receptor (platelet-activating factor receptor, PTAFR), has been shown to induce preterm delivery in mice. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are transmembrane receptors that mediate innate immunity. We have shown previously that Escherichia coli-induced preterm delivery in mice requires TLR signaling via the adaptor protein myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), but not an alternative adaptor, Toll/IL-1 receptor domain-containing adapter protein-inducing interferon-beta (TRIF). In the present work, we analyzed the role of endogenously produced PAF in labor using mice lacking (knockout [KO]) PAF acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH; the key degrading enzyme for PAF). PAF-AH KO mice are more susceptible to E. coli-induced preterm delivery and inflammation than controls. In peritoneal macrophages, the PTAFR agonist carbamyl PAF induces production of inflammatory markers previously demonstrated to be upregulated during bacterially induced labor, including: inducible nitric oxide synthase (Nos2), the chemokine Ccl5 (RANTES), tumor necrosis factor (Tnf), and level of their end-products (NO, CCL5, TNF) in a process dependent upon both IkappaB kinase and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. Interestingly, this induced expression was completely eliminated not only in macrophages deficient in PTAFR, but also in those lacking either TLR4, MyD88, or TRIF. The dependence of PAF effects upon TLR pathways appears to be related to production of PTAFR itself: PAF-induced expression of Ptafr mRNA was eliminated completely in TLR4 KO and partially in MyD88 and TRIF KO macrophages. We conclude that PAF signaling plays an important role in bacterially induced preterm delivery. Furthermore, in addition to its cognate receptor, PAF signaling in peritoneal macrophages requires TLR4, MyD88, and TRIF.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; cytokines; inflammation; macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase / genetics
  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase / metabolism
  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / genetics
  • Platelet Activating Factor / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / genetics
  • Premature Birth* / genetics
  • Premature Birth* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Myd88 protein, mouse
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • Platelet Activating Factor
  • TICAM-1 protein, mouse
  • Tlr4 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase