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Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 3;7(1):12628. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13051-6.

Maternal Gestational Diabetes Mellitus increases placental and foetal lipoprotein-associated Phospholipase A2 which might exert protective functions against oxidative stress.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
BioTechMed-Graz, Graz, Austria.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
BioTechMed-Graz, Graz, Austria.


Increased Lipoprotein associated phospholipase A2 (LpPLA2) has been associated with inflammatory pathologies, including Type 2 Diabetes. Studies on LpPLA2 and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) are rare, and have focused mostly on maternal outcome. In the present study, we investigated whether LpPLA2 activity on foetal lipoproteins is altered by maternal GDM and/or obesity (a major risk factor for GDM), thereby contributing to changes in lipoprotein functionality. We identified HDL as the major carrier of LpPLA2 activity in the foetus, which is in contrast to adults. We observed marked expression of LpPLA2 in placental macrophages (Hofbauer cells; HBCs) and found that LpPLA2 activity in these cells was increased by insulin, leptin, and pro-inflammatory cytokines. These regulators were also increased in plasma of children born from GDM pregnancies. Our results suggest that insulin, leptin, and pro-inflammatory cytokines are positive regulators of LpPLA2 activity in the foeto-placental unit. Of particular interest, functional assays using a specific LpPLA2 inhibitor suggest that high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-associated LpPLA2 exerts anti-oxidative, athero-protective functions on placental endothelium and foetus. Our results therefore raise the possibility that foetal HDL-associated LpPLA2 might act as an anti-inflammatory enzyme improving vascular barrier function.

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