The placenta is a highly vascularized organ functioning as the interface between fetal blood, which is confined within the villous blood vessels, and maternal blood, which flows in decidual arteries and washes the intervillous spaces in contact with syncytiotrophoblast (STB) cells. The STB adopts vascular characteristics such as the presence of von Willebrand factor (vWF), CD31 markers, adhesion molecules, and coagulation components. The special structure of the placenta requires efficient mechanisms for fast activation and localized regulation of coagulation. The presence of procoagulant and anticoagulant components on placental vascular endothelial cells (EC) and STB is essential for hemostasis. Activation of coagulation may be a favored process, as suggested by elevated fibrin depositions documented in some pathologic states. Increased localized procoagulant components such as tissue factor (TF) and plasminogen activator inhibitors (PAI-1, PAI-2), are associated with some pregnancy complications. Several anticoagulants regulate placental coagulation: tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is primarily produced in EC; TFPI-2, a variant of TFPI, has been purified from the placenta and was identified in the STB lining the villi; thrombomodulin, a membrane glycoprotein that activates protein C, is localized in EC and apical membranes of STB; annexin V, an anticoagulant that binds to negative membrane phospholipids, is abundant on normal placental STB, whereas reduced STB annexin V was associated with the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies. The placenta is a putative source of coagulation components. However, the interplay between local procoagulant and anticoagulant mechanisms and their association with pregnancy complications need to be assessed.
- Pregnancy complications