The impact of circulating preeclampsia-associated extracellular vesicles on the migratory activity and phenotype of THP-1 monocytic cells

Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 3;8(1):5426. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23706-7.


Intercellular communication via extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their target cells, especially immune cells, results in functional and phenotype changes that consequently may play a significant role in various physiological states and the pathogenesis of immune-mediated disorders. Monocytes are the most prominent environment-sensing immune cells in circulation, skilled to shape their microenvironments via cytokine secretion and further differentiation. Both the circulating monocyte subset distribution and the blood plasma EV pattern are characteristic for preeclampsia, a pregnancy induced immune-mediated hypertensive disorder. We hypothesized that preeclampsia-associated EVs (PE-EVs) induced functional and phenotypic alterations of monocytes. First, we proved EV binding and uptake by THP-1 cells. Cellular origin and protein cargo of circulating PE-EVs were characterized by flow cytometry and mass spectrometry. An altered phagocytosis-associated molecular pattern was found on 12.5 K fraction of PE-EVs: an elevated CD47 "don't eat me" signal (p < 0.01) and decreased exofacial phosphatidylserine "eat-me" signal (p < 0.001) were found along with decreased uptake of these PE-EVs (p < 0.05). The 12.5 K fraction of PE-EVs induced significantly lower chemotaxis (p < 0.01) and cell motility but accelerated cell adhesion of THP-1 cells (p < 0.05). The 12.5 K fraction of PE-EVs induced altered monocyte functions suggest that circulating EVs may have a role in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement*
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Phenotype*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / pathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • THP-1 Cells