Procalcitonin (PCT) is one of the best diagnostic and prognostic markers in clinical practice, widely used to evaluate the evolution of bacterial infections. Although it is mainly produced by thyroid, during sepsis almost all the peripheral tissues are involved in PCT production. Parenchymal cells have been suggested as the main source of PCT expression; however the contribution of macrophages is not clear yet. In response to environmental cues, tissue macrophages acquire distinct functional phenotypes, ranging from proinflammatory (M1) to anti-inflammatory (M2) phenotype. Macrophages at the fetal-maternal interface show immunosuppressive M2-like activities required for the maintenance of immunological homeostasis during pregnancy. This study aims to clarify the ability to synthesise PCT of fully differentiated (M0), polarized (M1/M2) macrophages and those cultured either in the presence of first trimester gravid serum (GS) or pregnancy hormones. We found out that M1 macrophages upregulate PCT expression following LPS stimulation compared to M0 and M2. The GS downregulates PCT expression in macrophages, skewing them towards an M2-like phenotype. This effect seems only partially mediated by the hormonal milieu. Our findings strengthen the key role of macrophages in counteracting inflammatory stimuli during pregnancy, suggesting PCT as a possible new marker of M1-like macrophages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology