Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Cellular microparticles are ubiquitously shed from cell membranes or secreted as endocytic vesicles called exosomes. Shed microparticles are >/=100nm in size and are generated during apoptosis or necrosis. In contrast, exosomes are smaller (<100nm), express more limited protein content and are released from late endosomes. Both membrane particles and exosomes can be detected in the circulation in non-pregnant and pregnant women. In the former, they are increased in conditions associated with systemic inflammation such as sepsis or metabolic syndrome. During pregnancy, they are also associated with pre-eclampsia and include not only particles derived from platelets, endothelium and various leukocytes but also syncytiotrophoblast-derived microparticles. Syncytiotrophoblast membrane microparticles (often called STBMs) interact with both immune and endothelial cells. They may contribute to the systemic inflammatory response of both normal and pre-eclamptic pregnancies, although inhibitory activity has also been described. Moreover, trophoblast-derived exosomes may contribute to or cause the downregulation of T cell activity that has been repeatedly observed during pregnancy. Deletion of activate T cells which express Fas ligand by Fas-expressing exosomes derived from trophoblast may contribute to immunoregulation necessary for normal pregnancy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Reprod Immunol

Publication Date





61 - 67


Cytokines, Endosomes, Female, Humans, Immune Tolerance, Immunologic Factors, Inflammation, Particle Size, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, T-Lymphocytes, Trophoblasts