Pathogenic Mechanisms of Preeclampsia with Severe Features Implied by the Plasma Exosomal miRNA Profile

Bioengineered. 2021 Oct 26. doi: 10.1080/21655979.2021.1993717. Online ahead of print.


Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy characterised by high blood pressure and organ damage after 20 gestational weeks. It is associated with high maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality; however, at present, there is no effective prevention or treatment for this condition. Previous studies have revealed that plasma exosomal miRNAs from pregnant women with preeclampsia could serve as biomarkers of pathogenic factors. However, the roles of plasma exosomal miRNAs in preeclampsia with severe features (sPE), which is associated with poorer pregnancy outcomes, remain unknown. Thus, the aims of this study were to characterise plasma exosomal miRNAs in sPE and explore the related pathogenic mechanisms using bioinformatic analysis. Plasma exosomes were isolated using a mirVana RNA isolation kit. The exosomal miRNAs were detected using high-throughput sequencing and the miRNAs related to Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways and gene ontology (GO) terms were analysed using the clusterProfiler package of R. Fifteen miRNAs exhibited increased expression and fourteen miRNAs exhibited reduced expression in plasma exosomes from women with sPE as compared to normal pregnant women. Further, gene set enrichment analysis revealed that the differentially expressed plasma exosomal miRNAs were related to the stress response and cell junction regulation, among others. In summary, this study is the first to identify the differentially expressed plasma exosomal miRNAs in sPE. These findings highlight promising pathogenesis mechanisms underlying preeclampsia.

Keywords: KEGG; endothelial cell dysfunction; exosomes; gene ontology; miRNAs profile; pre-eclampsia.