Fibrinogen, an endogenous ligand of Toll-like receptor 4, activates monocytes in pre-eclamptic patients

Al-ofi, E., Coffelt, S. B. and Anumba, D. O. (2014) Fibrinogen, an endogenous ligand of Toll-like receptor 4, activates monocytes in pre-eclamptic patients. Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 103, pp. 23-28. (doi:10.1016/j.jri.2014.02.004) (PMID:24661950)

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Pre-eclampsia (PE) remains the leading cause of pregnancy-associated mortality and morbidity, urging the need for a better understanding of its aetiology and pathophysiological progression. A key characteristic of PE is a systemic, exaggerated, inflammatory condition involving abnormal cytokine levels in serum, altered immune cell phenotype and Th1/Th2-type immunological imbalance. However, it is unknown how this heightened inflammatory condition manifests. We previously reported increased expression of the lipopolysaccharide receptor, Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), on monocytes from PE patients compared with normotensive, pregnant patients (NP). This upregulation of TLR4 on PE monocytes was accompanied by a hyper-responsiveness to bacterial TLR4 ligands. To determine whether non-microbial, endogenous TLR4 ligands also activate monocytes from PE patients, we investigated the expression of host-derived TLR4 ligands and the response of monocytes to these endogenous ligands. Plasma levels of fibrinogen – but not fibronectin or heparan sulphate – were higher in PE patients than in NP. Exposure to fibrinogen was associated with significantly increased production of inflammatory cytokines by monocytes from PE patients. Interestingly, this effect was not observed with NP monocytes. Our findings suggest that the fibrinogen-TLR4 axis might play an important role in the atypical activation of monocytes observed in PE patients that may contribute to the exaggerated inflammatory condition.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:E.A. was funded by the King Abdul Aziz University, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Coffelt, Dr Seth
Authors: Al-ofi, E., Coffelt, S. B., and Anumba, D. O.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Reproductive Immunology
ISSN (Online):1872-7603
Published Online:01 March 2014

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