Dendritic cells in the circulation of women with preeclampsia demonstrate a pro-inflammatory bias secondary to dysregulation of TLR receptors

Britta Panda, Alexander Panda, Ikuyo Ueda, Vikki M Abrahams, Errol R Norwitz, Aleksandar K Stanic, Brett C Young, Jeffrey L Ecker, Marcus Altfeld, Albert C Shaw, Bo R Rueda
Journal of Reproductive Immunology 2012, 94 (2): 210-5
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are central components of the innate immune system that recognize both microbial ligands and host products released during tissue damage. Data from epidemiologic studies and animal models suggest that inappropriate activation of the immune system plays a critical role in the development of preeclampsia. This study evaluates in a systematic fashion the expression and function of TLRs in the circulation of patients with preeclampsia compared to healthy pregnant controls. We evaluated TLR expression and function in primary dendritic cells (DCs) of 30 patients with preeclampsia and 30 gestational age-matched healthy pregnant controls. DCs were stimulated with the different TLR ligands engaging TLR1/2, TLR2/6, TLR3, TLR4, TLR5, TLR7, TLR8 and TLR9. The expression of TLR-induced production of TNF-α, IFN-α, IL-6, and IL-12 were measured by multicolor flow cytometry. Basal expression of TLR3, TLR4 and TLR9 was significantly increased in DCs isolated from women with preeclampsia. Preeclamptic DCs also expressed significantly higher basal levels of cytokines. In contrast, preeclamptic DCs demonstrated a less robust response to stimulation with various TLR ligands as compared with healthy pregnant controls. Under basal conditions, DCs from preeclamptic individuals express higher levels of select TLRs and produce more pro-inflammatory cytokines as compared with healthy controls. As such, the ability of these cells to mount an inflammatory reaction in response to a TLR ligand is limited. These data demonstrate a dysregulated pattern of TLR expression and cytokine production in DCs from PE patients that may limit further activation by TLR engagement.

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