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Placenta. 2011 Nov;32(11):830-7. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2011.08.004. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Contribution of different placental cells to the expression and stimulation of antimicrobial proteins (AMPs).

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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Erlangen, Loschgestrasse 15, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.


The placenta is a major barrier that prevents potentially infectious agents from causing fetal diseases or related complications during pregnancy. Therefore, we postulated that the placenta might express a broad repertoire of antimicrobial proteins as well as inflammatory chemokines and cytokines to combat invading microorganisms. Here we demonstrate that placental cells indeed express a wide range of AMPs (antimicrobial peptides and proteins) including bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI), secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), human β-defensin 2 (hBD2), acyloxyacyl hydrolase (AOAH), and cathelicidin (CAP18). In addition, these cells also secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines upon stimulation with bacterial ligands. Notably, we show that BPI expression by placental cells could be completely attributed to granulocytes while highly purified placental trophoblasts expressed only a subset of the AMPs like SLPI. Unexpectedly, trophoblast AMPs did not exhibit inducible secretion in response to various TLR ligands and further investigations showed that the unresponsiveness of trophoblasts to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was due to a lack of TLR4 expression. In summary, we have shown that the expression of different AMPs can be allocated to various cells in the placenta and the repertoire of the AMPs expressed by placental cells is a result of a cooperation of leukocytes as well as cells from embryonic origin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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