The Placental Innate Immune System Is Altered in Early-Onset Preeclampsia, but Not in Late-Onset Preeclampsia

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Preeclampsia is a severe placenta-related pregnancy disorder that is generally divided into two subtypes named early-onset preeclampsia (onset <34 weeks of gestation), and late-onset preeclampsia (onset ≥34 weeks of gestation), with distinct pathophysiological origins. Both forms of preeclampsia have been associated with maternal systemic inflammation. However, alterations in the placental immune system have been less well characterized. Here, we studied immunological alterations in early- and late-onset preeclampsia placentas using a targeted expression profile approach. RNA was extracted from snap-frozen placenta samples (healthy n=13, early-onset preeclampsia n=13, and late-onset preeclampsia n=6). The expression of 730 immune-related genes from the Pan Cancer Immune Profiling Panel was measured, and the data were analyzed in the advanced analysis module of nSolver software (NanoString Technology). The results showed that early-onset preeclampsia placentas displayed reduced expression of complement, and toll-like receptor (TLR) associated genes, specifically TLR1 and TLR4. Mast cells and M2 macrophages were also decreased in early-onset preeclampsia compared to healthy placentas. The findings were confirmed by an immunohistochemistry approach using 20 healthy, 19 early-onset preeclampsia, and 10 late-onset preeclampsia placentas. We conclude that the placental innate immune system is altered in early-onset preeclampsia compared to uncomplicated pregnancies. The absence of these alterations in late-onset preeclampsia placentas indicates dissimilar immunological profiles. The study revealed distinct pathophysiological processes in early-onset and late-onset preeclampsia placentas and imply that a tailored treatment to each subtype is desirable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number780043
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. S. Schoenmakers for his help with collecting the placentas.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Broekhuizen, Hitzerd, van den Bosch, Dumas, Verdijk, van Rijn, Danser, van Eijck, Reiss and Mustafa.


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