Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a toll like receptor (TLR) 7 and 9 antagonist, is used during pregnancy for inflammatory conditions with limited understanding of its placental toxicology. We hypothesized that HCQ does not have toxic effects on the placenta and can modulate cytokine release in response to TLR7/9 activation. A systematic review was conducted and no studies of HCQ on multicellular human placental tissue were identified. Accordingly, placental villous explants were cultured for 7 days with HCQ +/- TLR7/9 agonists. HCQ did not affect cell turnover, nutrient transport or cytokine release but increased IL-10 (anti-inflammatory) secretion and promoted syncytiotrophoblast regeneration. Cytokine release stimulated by TLR7/9 agonists was unaffected by HCQ. In conclusion, HCQ did not adversely affect placental tissue and may have a protective anti-inflammatory function. Further research is needed to determine the mechanisms of HCQ actions on human placenta and whether they could be utilized to improve pregnancy outcomes.
- TLR 7
- TLR 9