Analysis of parameters of haemostasis in pre-eclamptic, normotensive pregnant and non-pregnant women.

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Murray, Erin Kathleen Isabel
Pre-Eclampsia , Haemostasis
Pregnancy is characterized by a state of heightened coagulation, which is exacerbated in pathological conditions such as pre-eclampsia (PET). PET is further associated with abnormal maternal inflammation and increased circulating microparticles (MP); however, a mechanistic link between these pathological features has never been established. It is proposed in this thesis that abnormal maternal inflammation is causally linked to pro-coagulant trophoblast MP shedding via a mechanism mediated by the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF), thereby contributing to maternal coagulopathies associated with PET. Using thromboelastography (TEG) and standard laboratory tests, haemostatic function was evaluated in PET and normotensive subjects at delivery and post-partum. Furthermore, the effects of the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive (OC) use on haemostatic function were assessed in non-pregnant subjects in order to understand their influence on post-partum haemostasis. Plasma TNF and pro-coagulant MP levels were evaluated in the pregnant subjects. Using chorionic villi explants from human term placentas, MPs were quantified after TNF administration. The pro-coagulant potential of placental MPs was evaluated by TEG by spiking whole-blood with medium containing MPs from chorionic villi. TEG identified increased whole-blood coagulability in PET subjects at delivery, demonstrating its increased sensitivity over standard laboratory tests at identifying haemostatic alterations associated with PET. Haemostatic alterations were normalized by six weeks post-partum. TEG also identified cyclic haemostatic variations associated with OC use. Chorionic villi treated with TNF (1 ng/ml) shed significantly more MPs than untreated placentas. MPs from chorionic villi increased the coagulability of whole-blood. Together, results provide evidence supporting the concept that abnormal maternal inflammation is causally linked to the development of maternal coagulopathies in pregnancy complications. Moreover, TEG may be superior to standard laboratory tests in evaluating haemostasis in pregnant and non-pregnant subjects.
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