TLR3 expression by maternal and fetal cells at the maternal-fetal interface in normal and preeclamptic pregnancies
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Leukocyte Biology. 2020, 1-11. 10.1002/JLB.3MA0620-728RR
Inflammation and oxidative stress at the maternal‐fetal interface characterize the placental dysfunction that underlies the pregnancy disorder preeclampsia. Specialized fetal trophoblasts directly interact with leukocytes at both sites of the maternal‐fetal interface; the uterine wall decidua; and the placenta. TLR3 has been implicated in the harmful inflammation at the maternal‐fetal interface in preeclampsia, but the cellular involvement in the decidua and placenta has not been determined. This study aimed to characterize and quantify cell‐specific TLR3 expression and function at the maternal‐fetal interface in normal and preeclamptic pregnancies. TLR3 expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry and quantified by a novel image‐based and cell‐specific quantitation method. TLR3 was expressed at the maternal‐fetal interface by all decidual and placental trophoblast types and by maternal and fetal leukocytes. Placental, but not decidual, TLR3 expression was significantly higher in preeclampsia compared to normal pregnancies. This increase was attributed to placental intravillous tissue and associated with both moderate and severe placental dysfunction. TLR3 pathway functionality in the decidua and placenta was confirmed by TLR3 ligand‐induced cytokine response, but the TLR3 expression levels did not correlate between the two sites. In conclusion, functional TLR3 was broadly expressed by maternal and fetal cells at both sites of the maternal‐fetal interface and the placental intravillous expression was increased in preeclampsia. This suggests TLR3‐mediated inflammatory involvement with local regulation at both sites of the maternal‐fetal interface in normal and preeclamptic pregnancies.