Introduction and aim: Exosomes are a subtype of extracellular vesicle (20-130 nm) released by biological cells under normal and pathological conditions. Although there have been reports of circulating exosomes in normal pregnancy, the relevance of placental-derived exosomes in normal and abnormal pregnancies still needs to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to quantify total and placental-derived exosomes in maternal plasma from normal (N), early onset- and late onset-preeclampsia (PE).
Method: Plasma samples were obtained from pregnant women in the third trimester, for the isolation of exosomes by differential ultracentrifugation. Total exosomes were quantified using nanoparticle tracking analysis and immuno-reactive exosomal CD63 quantification. Placental-derived exosomes were quantified using placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) as a specific marker. The contribution of placental-derived exosomes to total exosomes in maternal plasma was determined by the ratio of PLAP+ exosomes to CD63+ exosomes.
Results: The concentration of total exosomes significantly increased in early onset-PE and late onset-PE compared to N (≤33 weeks) and N (≥34 weeks). The relative concentration of placental-derived exosomes significantly increased in early onset-PE but decreased in late onset-PE compared to N. The ratio of PLAP+ exosomes to total number of exosomes significantly decreased in early onset-PE and late onset-PE. A positive correlation between total and placental-derived exosomes were obtained in N (≤33 weeks: Pearson's r = 0.60, ≥34 weeks: Pearson's r = 0.67) and early onset-PE (Pearson's r = 0.51, p < 0.05) with the inverse in late onset-PE (Pearson's r = -0.62, p < 0.01).
Conclusion: The differences in the contribution of placental-derived exosomes to total exosomes in maternal circulation suggests a possible pathophysiological role of placental-derived exosomes in pre-eclampsia.
Keywords: Early onset preeclampsia; Exosomes; Late onset pre-eclampsia; Placental-derived exosomes.
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