Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

The Role of Platelets in Human Pregnancy: An exploration of the nature of the cytokine secretion profile during normal human pregnancy

Niamh Moran, Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics. Keywords: gynaecology, obstetrics & perinatal health, pregnancy, platelet, non-thrombotic.

Platelet activation in normal individuals is  accompanied by thrombus development and a parallel secretion of bioactive proteins from platelet granules, including inflammatory factors, growth factors, chemokines and cytokines . The precise content of the platelet secretome varies depending on the physiological or pathological stimulus (Italiano et al. 2008, Battinelli et al. 2011).    Normal human pregnancy is associated with profound non-thrombogenic alterations to the haemostatic equilibrium in the blood. In parallel, platelet activation is evident during all stages of pregnancy. Despite this obvious procoagulant and prothrombotic state, the occurrence of thrombotic clots during pregnancy is relatively rare. Moreover, the pysiological function of the gestationally-altered hemostatic and thrombotic status remains unknown.     We recently demonstrated that PSG1, a soluble plasma protein that is systematically up-regulated after the embryo implantation phase of pregnancy, selectively prevents platelet aggregation and thrombus formation (Shanley et al. 2013). Surprisingly, PSG-1 does not suppress platelet secretion events. In contrast, there is strong evidence that platelet secretion is enhanced as pregnancy progresses. However, no systematic assessment of the pregnancy specific secretome has been undertaken to date.     It is our hypothesis that the bioactive agents released in the platelet secretome during pregnancy may serve to functionally affect / facilitate vascular changes and placental angiogeniesis during pregnancy (AlObaidly et al, 2015). In this proposal we will characterize the nature of the platelet secretome using a Multiplex ELISA platform to quantitatively detect inflammatory growth factors, chemokines and cytokines.   

Mentors Niamh Moran. nmoran@rcsi.ie