The concentration of Circulating microparticles (CMPs) increases more than two-fold during pregnancy and offers a minimally invasive means to “biopsy” maternal-fetal tissues. CMPs obtained at the end of the first trimester, are a good source of protein biomarkers to detect physiologic changes systemically such that the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery (sPTB) at <35 weeks can be stratified.
Extended clinical validations of the sPTB biomarkers, have demonstrated that CMP-associated proteins, obtained at 12 weeks’ gestation, may predict the overall risk of early preeclampsia and indicate distinct subtypes of pathophysiology and clinical morbidity. The approach is being extended to a placental disease called placenta accreta, a life-threatening condition wherein the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall and does not deliver readily during birth. The early detection of a host of diseases and complications of pregnancy, using vesicular content derived from maternal and fetal compartments and, systemically, from a broad range of tissues and pathophysiological processes, could lead to better management and early interventions that improve birth outcomes and save lives.