Elevated protease HtrA4 in the maternal circulation of preeclampsia may contribute to endothelial barrier disruption by cleaving key junctional protein VE-cadherin

Esther Tseng, Sonia Soo Yee Teoh, Yao Wang, Guiying Nie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Preeclampsia is hallmarked by systemic endothelial dysfunction, including increased endothelial permeability and oedema. Placenta-derived factors in maternal blood contribute to endothelial barrier impairment, but molecular mechanisms are unclear. HtrA4 is a placenta-specific protease that is secreted into the maternal circulation and elevated in early-onset preeclampsia. In this study, we found HtrA4 cleaved the key endothelial junctional protein VE-cadherin in vitro. HtrA4 at concentrations found in preeclampsia also cleaved VE-cadherin in HUVECs as an endothelial model, disrupted cell-cell connections and induced intercellular gaps. These results provide critical insights into understanding the molecular mechanisms of endothelial barrier disruption in preeclampsia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-53
Number of pages3
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019


  • Endothelial barrier
  • HtrA4
  • Oedema
  • Preeclampsia
  • Vascular permeability
  • VE-Cadherin

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