CD74-Downregulation of Placental Macrophage-Trophoblastic Interactions in Preeclampsia
Rationale: MWe hypothesized that Cluster of differentiation 74 (CD74) downregulation on placental macrophages, leading to altered macrophage-trophoblast interaction, is involved in preeclampsia.
Objective: Preeclamptic pregnancies feature hypertension, proteinuria and placental anomalies. Feto-placental macrophages regulate villous trophoblast differentiation during placental development. Disturbance of this well-balanced regulation can lead to pathological pregnancies.
Methods and Results: We performed whole genome expression analysis of placental tissue. CD74 was one of the most downregulated genes in placentas from preeclamptic women. By RT-PCR, we confirmed this finding in early onset (<34 gestational week, n=26) and late onset (≥34 gestational week, n=24) samples from preeclamptic women, compared to healthy pregnant controls (n=28). CD74 protein levels were analyzed by Western blot and flow cytometry. We identified placental macrophages to express CD74 by immunofluorescence, flow cytometry and RT-PCR. CD74-positive macrophages were significantly reduced in preeclamptic placentas compared to controls. CD74-silenced macrophages showed that the adhesion molecules ALCAM, ICAM4, and Syndecan-2, as well as macrophage adhesion to trophoblasts were diminished. Naïve and activated macrophages lacking CD74 showed a shift towards a pro-inflammatory signature with an increased secretion of TNF , CCL5, and MCP-1, when co-cultured with trophoblasts compared to control macrophages. Trophoblasts stimulated by these factors express more CYP2J2, sFlt1, TNF and IL-8. CD74-knockout mice showed disturbed placental morphology, reduced junctional zone, smaller placentas and impaired spiral artery remodeling with fetal growth restriction.
Conclusions: CD74 downregulation in placental macrophages is present in preeclampsia. CD74 downregulation leads to altered macrophage activation towards a pro-inflammatory signature and a disturbed crosstalk with trophoblasts.
- Received January 6, 2016.
- Revision received May 18, 2016.
- Accepted May 19, 2016.