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Pre-Eclampsia Affects Cord Blood NK Cell Expression of Activation Receptors and Serum Cytokine Levels but Not CB Monocyte Characteristics




Maternal immunopathology in pre-eclampsia is well studied; however, less is known regarding the immunological effects on the newborns. Increased inflammation and activation of immune cells at the fetal–maternal interface in pre-eclampsia could influence the neonatal immune compartment.

Method of Study

Monocytes and natural killer (NK) cells from cord blood (CB) of children with pre-eclamptic or healthy mothers were analyzed by flow cytometry for surface markers and intracellular cytokines. In addition, serum cytokine profiles were investigated using ELISA or cytometric bead array.


Neonates born to pre-eclamptic mothers had an inflammatory serum cytokine profile. While CB monocyte characteristics seemed unaffected, CB NK cells from pre-eclamptic pregnancies had higher NKp30, but borderline lower NKG2D expression.


In utero inflammatory priming of neonatal innate immunity taking place in pre-eclamptic pregnancies might influence specific NK cell functions in newborns.