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Hypertension. 2013 Nov;62(5):893-8. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01494. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Microvesicles of women with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia affect human trophoblast fate and endothelial function.

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Thrombosis and Hemostasis Unit, Department of Hematology, Rambam Health Care Campus, P.O. Box 9602, Haifa 31096, Israel.


Microvesicles shedding from cell membrane affect inflammation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. We hypothesize that microvesicles of women with gestational vascular complications reflect pathophysiological state of the patients and affect their endothelial and trophoblast cell function. Microvesicles of healthy pregnant women, women with gestational hypertension, mild, or severe preeclampsia/toxemia, were characterized, and their effects on early-stage or term trophoblasts and endothelial cells were evaluated using apoptosis, migration, and tube formation assays. Patient subgroups differed significantly only in proteinuria levels, therefore their microvesicles were assessed as 1 group, demonstrating higher levels of inflammatory and angiogenic proteins compared with those of healthy pregnant women. In endothelial cells, microvesicles of healthy pregnant women reduced caspase 3/7 activity, increased migration, and induced tube formation. These processes were suppressed by microvesicles of women with gestational vascular complications. In early-stage trophoblasts, microvesicles of healthy pregnant women decreased apoptosis compared with untreated cells (6±5% versus 13.8±5.8%; P<0.001) and caspase 3/7 activity and induced higher migration (39.7±10.1 versus 20.3±8.3 mm2; P<0.001). This effect was mediated through extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway. Conversely, microvesicles of women with gestational vascular complications increased term trophoblast apoptosis compared with cells exposed to microvesicles of healthy pregnant women (15.1±3.3% versus 6.5±2.1%; P<0.001) and inhibited early-stage trophoblasts migration (21.4±18.5 versus 39.7±10.1 mm2; P<0.001). In conclusion, microvesicle content and effects on endothelial and trophoblast cells vary according to the physiological/pathological state of a pregnant woman. Microvesicles seem to play a pivotal role in the course of pregnancy, which could potentially result in gestational vascular complications.


apoptosis; cell movement; endothelial cells; hypertension; preeclampsia; pregnancy; toxemia; trophoblasts

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