Placenta-derived exosomes – potential biomarkers of preeclampsia

Preeclampsia remains a leading cause of maternal and fetal mortality, due to ineffective treatment and diagnostic strategies, compounded by the lack of clarity on the etiology of the disorder. Although several clinical and biological markers of preeclampsia have been evaluated, they have proven to be ineffective in providing a definitive diagnosis during the various stages of the disorder. Exosomes have emerged as ideal biomarkers of pathological states, such as cancer, and have more recently gained interest in pregnancy-related complications, due to their role in cellular communication in normal and complicated pregnancies. This occurs as a result of the specific placenta-derived exosomal molecular cargo, which may be involved in normal pregnancy-associated immunological events, such as the maintenance of maternal-fetal tolerance. Researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal provide perspectives on placenta-derived exosomes as possible biomarkers for the diagnosis/prognosis of preeclampsia.


Schematic representation of key pregnancy-associated exosomal molecular cargo and their function

Pillay P, Moodley K, Moodley J, Mackraj I. (2017) Placenta-derived exosomes: potential biomarkers of preeclampsia. Int J Nanomedicine 12:8009-8023. [article]

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