The role of hepatic sinusoidal obstruction in the pathogenesis of the hepatic involvement in HELLP syndrome: Exploring the literature

V. von Salmuth, Y. van der Heiden, I. Bekkers, P.V. Heimel, M.A. Spaanderman, L.L. Peeters, G.H. Koek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Aim: This study aims to determine, based on existing data, whether the mechanism resulting in liver dysfunction in HELLP syndrome resembles that in Sinusoidal Obstruction Syndrome (SOS).Background: HELLP syndrome is a serious pregnancy disorder with high maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality rates. Because of poor insight in its pathophysiology, particularly that of the liver involvement, clinical management is limited to symptomatic treatment, often followed by termination of pregnancy. SOS is a rare, potentially life-threatening complication of radio and/or chemotherapy in the preparation of hematopoietic cell transplantation. The etiology of liver dysfunction in SOS is - unlike that in HELLP syndrome - better-understood and seems to be initiated by direct toxic damage and demise of endothelial cells, causing hepatic sinusoidal obstruction and ischemia.Methods: We searched Pubmed, Embase and Cochrane for reports on the etiology of HELLP and SOS. This yielded 73 articles, with 14 additional reports from the references listed in these articles.Results: The dysfunctional placenta in women developing HELLP initiates a cascade of events that eventually results in liver dysfunction. The placenta releases, besides anti-angiogenetic factors, also necrotic debris and cell-free DNA, a mixture that not only induces systemic endothelial dysfunction as in preeclampsia, but also a systemic inflammatory response. The latter aggravates the endothelio-toxic effects in the systemic cardiovascular bed, amplifying the already increased pro-thrombotic conditions. Particularly in microcirculations with extremely low shear forces, such as in the hepatic sinusoids, this will facilitate microthrombi formation and fibrin deposition eventually resulting in obstruction of the sinusoids similar as in SOS. The latter causes ischemic damage and progressive demise of hepatocytes.Conclusion: The available information supports the concept that the liver damage in HELLP and SOS results from sinusoidal ischemia, presumably resulting from partially overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalPregnancy Hypertension: an international journal of women's cardiovascular health
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • cell-death
  • complement activation
  • elevated liver-enzymes
  • endothelial activation
  • fas ligand
  • hellp syndrome
  • hemolysis
  • immune
  • inflammatory response
  • liver dysfunction
  • low platelet count
  • placental dysfunction
  • pregnancy
  • sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (sos)
  • sterile inflammation
  • systemic inflammatory
  • HEMOLYSIS
  • HELLP syndrome
  • Placental dysfunction
  • Liver dysfunction
  • LOW PLATELET COUNT
  • FAS LIGAND
  • STERILE INFLAMMATION
  • COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION
  • ELEVATED LIVER-ENZYMES
  • Systemic inflammatory
  • CELL-DEATH
  • PREGNANCY
  • IMMUNE
  • Sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS)
  • Endothelial activation
  • INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE

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