Role of activin A in the pathogenesis of endothelial cell dysfunction in preeclampsia

Sebastian R. Hobson, Rutu Acharya, Rebecca Lim, Siow Teng Chan, Joanne Mockler, Euan M. Wallace

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Circulating markers for endothelial activation such as endothelin-1 (ET-1), ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 are elevated in women with preeclampsia. Using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) as an in vitro model of the maternal vasculature, we show that activin A and preeclamptic serum upregulate ET-1, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 in HUVECs. Further, we show that follistatin, a specific binding protein for activin, mitigates the upregulation of ET-1, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 in HUVECs exposed to either activin A or preeclamptic serum. These data are consistent with activin A contributing to the pathophysiology of preeclampsia and suggest that therapies targeting activin signalling are worth exploring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-133
Number of pages4
JournalPregnancy Hypertension
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Preeclampsia
  • Activin
  • Follistatin
  • Endothelin
  • ICAM
  • VCAM

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