Hofbauer cells in pregnancies complicated by maternal diabetes and pathological fetal growth
Georgia Fakonti, University of Leeds, UK
Diabetes in pregnancy is considered a high-risk condition. Of particular concern is the risk of stillbirth; women with type-1 (T1DM) or type-2 (T2DM) diabetes are more likely to have a stillbirth which is linked to increased rates of large for gestational age (LGA) babies; 57% T1DM and 25% of T2DM. Understanding what causes LGA is of obvious importance. The placenta is essential for normal fetal growth and preliminary data from Dr Forbes lab has shown that in pregnancies complicated by diabetes and LGA, there is altered gene expression and cellular changes associated with vascular development and immune factors. The only immune cell type present in villous placenta is placental macrophages; Hofbauer cells (HBCs). Interestingly, HBC number is increased in diabetic pregnancies and increases even more in those ending in stillbirth. The role of HBCs in the placenta is unclear, however emerging evidence suggests that they may have critical role in tissue homeostasis, tissue remodeling, and formation of blood vessels.
Given the aforementioned, we hypothesise that HBCs contribute to LGA by influencing placental vascularization and we aim to:
- Characterize HBCs from T1DM and T2DM pregnancies, with and without LGA
- Establish the role of HBCs in regulation of placental vascularisation
Grant awarded: £4,980.00