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The role of uterine NK cells in the etiology of preeclampsia

Sprik, L.B and Faas, M (2016) The role of uterine NK cells in the etiology of preeclampsia. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biomedical Sciences.

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Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity, complicating 2-8% of all pregnancies worldwide. Although the exact etiology of preeclampsia is unknown, it is widely accepted that insufficient placentation through defects in spiral artery remodelling is involved. Uterine natural killer cells (uNK cells) are maternal leukocytes which have several important roles in spiral artery remodelling. As both uNK cells and preeclampsia are related to arterial remodelling, they are most likely also related to each other. In this essay I have elaborated on the role of uNK cells in the etiology of preeclampsia. For arterial remodelling, invasion of extravillous trophoblast into maternal spiral arteries is essential. Furthermore, cross-talk between the uNK cells, extravillous trophoblasts and vascular cells is essential. Cross-talk occurs either through natural killer receptor-ligand interactions or soluble factors. Several studies have indicated that altered cross-talk contributes to preeclampsia. They reported that secreted factors of uNK cells isolated out of high RI pregnancies show reduced endothelial cell activation, ECM destruction and vascular apoptosis. Furthermore, secreted factors of these cells also failed to successfully recruit EVTs. In addition, genetic studies have reported that the combination of maternal AA KIRs with fetal HLA-C2s increases the risk of preeclampsia. To summarize, insufficient arterial remodelling associated with preeclampsia appears to be the result of an altered activation state of uNK cells. Alterations in the secretion state of uNK cells affect the initial stages of remodelling but also trophoblast recruitment and invasion into the spiral arteries. Furthermore, uNK cell – EVT receptor interactions are also involved.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biomedical Sciences
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:25
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:25

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