Inflammasomes—a molecular link for altered immunoregulation and inflammation mediated vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia

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Preeclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy-specific multisystem disorder and is associated with maladaptation of the maternal cardiovascular system and abnormal placentation. One of the important characteristics in the pathophysiology of PE is a dysfunction of the placenta. Placental insufficiency is associated with poor trophoblast uterine invasion and impaired transformation of the uterine spiral arterioles to high capacity and low impedance vessels and/or abnormalities in the development of chorionic villi. Significant progress in identifying potential molecular targets in the pathophysiology of PE is underway. The human placenta is immunologically functional with the trophoblast able to generate specific and diverse innate immune-like responses through their expression of multimeric self-assembling protein complexes, termed inflammasomes. However, the type of response is highly dependent upon the stimuli, the receptor(s) expressed and activated, the downstream signaling pathways involved, and the timing of gestation. Recent findings highlight that inflammasomes can act as a molecular link for several components at the syncytiotrophoblast surface and also in maternal blood thereby directly influencing each other. Thus, the inflammasome molecular platform can promote adverse inflammatory effects when chronically activated. This review highlights current knowledge in placental inflammasome expression and activity in PE-affected pregnancies, and consequently, vascular dysfunction in PE that must be addressed as an interdependent interactive process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1406
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2020


  • Inflammasomes
  • Placental insufficiency
  • Preeclampsia

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