Napso, T., Zhao, X., Lligoña, M.I. et al. Placental secretome characterization identifies candidates for pregnancy complications. Commun Biol 4, 701 (2021). doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02214-x
Alterations in maternal physiological adaptation during pregnancy lead to complications, including abnormal birthweight and gestational diabetes. Maternal adaptations are driven by placental hormones, although the full identity of these is lacking. This study unbiasedly characterized the secretory output of mouse placental endocrine cells and examined whether these data could identify placental hormones important for determining pregnancy outcome in humans. Secretome and cell peptidome analyses were performed on cultured primary trophoblast and fluorescence-activated sorted endocrine trophoblasts from mice and a placental secretome map was generated. Proteins secreted from the placenta were detectable in the circulation of mice and showed a higher relative abundance in pregnancy. Bioinformatic analyses showed that placental secretome proteins are involved in metabolic, immune and growth modulation, are largely expressed by human placenta and several are dysregulated in pregnancy complications. Moreover, proof-of-concept studies found that secreted placental proteins (sFLT1/MIF and ANGPT2/MIF ratios) were increased in women prior to diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Thus, placental secretome analysis could lead to the identification of new placental biomarkers of pregnancy complications.