Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



2019 by the authors


Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 4402; doi:10.3390/ijms20184402


Omega-3 fatty acids are important to pregnancy and neonatal development and health. One mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids exert their protective effects is through serving as substrates for the generation of specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPM) that potently limit and resolve inflammatory processes. We recently identified that SPM levels are increased in maternal blood at delivery as compared to umbilical cord blood, suggesting the placenta as a potential site of action for maternal SPM. To explore this hypothesis, we obtained human placental samples and stained for the SPM resolvin D2 (RvD2) receptor GPR18 via immunohistochemistry. In so doing, we identified GPR18 expression in placental vascular smooth muscle and extravillous trophoblasts of the placental tissues. Using in vitro culturing, we confirmed expression of GPR18 in these cell types and further identified that stimulation with RvD2 led to significantly altered responsiveness (cytoskeletal changes and pro-inflammatory cytokine production) to lipopolysaccharide inflammatory stimulation in human umbilical artery smooth muscle cells and placental trophoblasts. Taken together, these findings establish a role for SPM actions in human placental tissue.