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Are there foetal extracellular vesicles in maternal blood? Prospects for diagnostic biomarker discovery

Adamova, P, Lotto, RR, Powell, AK and Dykes, IM (2022) Are there foetal extracellular vesicles in maternal blood? Prospects for diagnostic biomarker discovery. Journal of Molecular Medicine. ISSN 0946-2716

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00109-022-02278-0 (Published version)


Prenatal diagnosis of congenital disease improves clinical outcomes; however, as many as 50% of congenital heart disease cases are missed by current ultrasound screening methods. This indicates a need for improved screening technology. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have attracted enormous interest in recent years for their potential in diagnostics. EVs mediate endocrine signalling in health and disease and are known to regulate aspects of embryonic development. Here, we critically evaluate recent evidence suggesting that EVs released from the foetus are able to cross the placenta and enter the maternal circulation. Furthermore, EVs from the mother appear to be transported in the reverse direction, whilst the placenta itself acts as a source of EVs. Experimental work utilising rodent models employing either transgenically encoded reporters or application of fluorescent tracking dyes provide convincing evidence of foetal-maternal crosstalk. This is supported by clinical data demonstrating expression of placental-origin EVs in maternal blood, as well as limited evidence for the presence of foetal-origin EVs. Together, this work raises the possibility that foetal EVs present in maternal blood could be used for the diagnosis of congenital disease. We discuss the challenges faced by researchers in translating these basic science findings into a clinical non-invasive prenatal test.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0304 Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry; Immunology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Publisher: Springer
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2022 09:05
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2022 09:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s00109-022-02278-0
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18507
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