Introducing a mouse model for pre-eclampsia: adoptive transfer of activated Th1 cells leads to pre-eclampsia-like symptoms exclusively in pregnant mice



Pre-eclampsia (PE) is the most severe pregnancy-related disease, leading to high maternal and fetal morbidity/mortality. Immunological imbalances associated with endothelial cell dysfunction have been hypothesized as a cause for the onset and perpetuation of PE. Valid and reliable animal models are urgently required to test this hypothesis and to better understand the mechanisms underlying PE. We developed a novel PE-model by adoptively transferring activated BALB/c Th1-like splenocytes into allogeneically pregnant BALB/c female mice during late gestation; the model mimicked the symptoms of PE, i.e. increased blood pressure and glomerulonephritis accompanied by proteinuria. Interestingly, these PE-like symptoms were not detectable in non-pregnant recipients of activated Th1-like cells. Adoptive cell transfer adversely affected the outcome of pregnancy by increasing fetal rejection, with uterine immune cells showing an inflammatory profile. In conclusion, we have established a valid and reliable PE mouse model, which opens vast opportunities for therapeutic interventions.