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Hum Immunol. 2005 Nov;66(11):1146-54. Epub 2006 Jan 4.

Induction of neutrophil extracellular DNA lattices by placental microparticles and IL-8 and their presence in preeclampsia.

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Laboratory for Prenatal Medicine, University Women's Hospital/Department of Research, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.


Preeclampsia, a severe pregnancy-related disorder, involves an overt activation of the maternal innate immune system, proposed to result from the elevated release of inflammatory syncytiotrophoblast microparticles (STBM) and cytokines from underlying placental anomaly involving abnormal trophoblast differentiation. Activation of circulating neutrophils has recently been shown to lead to the generation of fibrous extracellular lattices containing DNA, termed NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps). Therefore, we examined whether placentally derived factors activated peripheral neutrophils to generate NETs, and whether NETs formation was increased in preeclamptic placenta. Activation of isolated circulatory neutrophils on treatment with placentally derived factors (interleukin-8 and STBM) was assessed by measuring CD11b expression using Flow cytometry. Furthermore, NETs generation by these activated neutrophils in vitro and in vivo in the placental tissue sections were examined using electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. We report that placentally-derived interleukin-8 and STBM efficiently activated neutrophils and triggered NETs formation. Large numbers of NETs were present directly in the intervillous space of preeclamptic placentae. NETs, therefore, appear to be an integral part of neutrophil activation, and their increased presence in preeclampsia suggests that NETs may play a role in the underlying pathology.

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