Human umbilical vein endothelium-derived exosomes play a role in foetoplacental endothelial dysfunction in gestational diabetes mellitus

Tamara Sáez, Rocío Salsoso, Andrea Leiva, Fernando Toledo, Paul de Vos, Marijke Faas, Luis Sobrevia

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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) characterizes by foetoplacental endothelial dysfunction. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) from women with GDM show increased L-arginine transport via the human cationic amino acid transporter 1 (hCAT-1). Moreover, expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and nitric oxide synthesis are increased. Exosomes are increased in maternal plasma from GDM. We evaluated the role of foetoplacental endothelial exosomes on endothelial dysfunction in GDM. Exosomes were isolated from HUVECs from normal (ExN) and GDM (ExGDM) pregnancies. HUVECs were exposed (8h) to ExN or ExGDM and used for wound recovery assay (up to 8h), L-arginine transport, hCAT-1 and eNOS expression and activity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and 44 and 42kDa mitogen activated protein kinases (p44/42(mapk)) and protein kinase B/Akt (Akt) activation. Wound recovery was slower in GDM compared with normal pregnancies and was recovered by ExN. However, ExGDM delayed wound recovery in cells from normal pregnancies. GDM-increased L-arginine transport, hCAT-1 and eNOS expression and activity, and p44/42(mapk) activation were blocked by ExN, but ExGDM increased these parameters and ROS generation, and reduced eNOS phosphorylation at threonine(495) in cells from normal pregnancies. Inhibition of p44/42(mapk), but not Akt reversed GDM-increased L-arginine uptake. In conclusion foetoplacental endothelial-released exosomes play a role in the maintenance of a GDM phenotype in HUVECs. It is suggested that ExN and ExGDM cargo are different with differential effects in cells from normal or GDM pregnancies. This phenomenon could contribute to the understanding of mechanisms behind foetoplacental endothelial dysfunction in GDM pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et biophysica acta
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2018


  • Journal Article

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