Structural analysis of human placental stem and terminal villi from normal and idiopathic growth restricted pregnancies.
ABSTRACT Studying in detail different histomorphological and pathological findings in placental stem and terminal villi of appropriate for gestational age (AGA) and idiopathic intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) fetuses, then analyzing their correlation to the neonatal birth weight and to the some morphological features of the placenta. Fifty full-term human placentae of idiopathic IUGR and 25 of AGA pregnancies were processed for haematoxylin and eosin staining and evaluated by light microscope aided with Image Analyzer. The mean number of stem villous arteries, and the mean number of terminal villous capillaries per field are significantly lower in idiopathic IUGR group (4.63 ± 0.46, 47.09 ± 4.44, respectively) than in AGA group (12.36 ± 0.61, 73.35 ± 5.13, respectively) (p = 0.001). Both AGA and idiopathic IUGR placentae share the presence of many pathological features: (1) narrowing of stem villous arteries appears in 38 (76 %) of IUGR cases and in 9 (36 %) of AGA cases with significant difference between groups (p = 0.001); (2) cellular infiltration (villitis) of the stem villi is significantly higher in IUGR cases [24 (48 %)] than in AGA cases [2 (8 %)] (p = 0.001). The study shows significant correlation between the birth weight and different pathologic features in the stem villi as arterial number (r = 0.494; p = 0.000), arterial narrowing (r = 0.283, p = 0.004), degenerative changes (r = 0.331, p = 0.001) and villitis (r = 0.275, p = 0.005). There is also significant correlation between neonatal birth weight and terminal villous capillary number (r = 0.281, p = 0.001) but no significant correlation is found between the birth weight and terminal villous fibrotic changes (r = -0.098, p = 0.318). Histomorphological and pathological changes in the stem villi could explore the cause of idiopathic IUGR. Stem villous arterial number, arterial narrowing, degeneration and villitis could be underlying mechanisms. Further researches on the hormonal and cytokine level should be undertaken to demonstrate the precipitating factors of these changes and the possible preventing measures.
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ABSTRACT: Homeobox genes are essential for both the development of the blood and lymphatic vascular systems, as well as for their maintenance in the adult. Homeobox genes comprise an important family of transcription factors, which are characterized by a well conserved DNA binding motif; the homeodomain. The specificity of the homeodomain allows the transcription factor to bind to the promoter regions of batteries of target genes and thereby regulates their expression. Target genes identified for homeodomain proteins have been shown to control fundamental cell processes such as proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. We and others have reported that homeobox genes are expressed in the placental vasculature, but our knowledge of their downstream target genes is limited. This review highlights the importance of studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which homeobox genes and their downstream targets may regulate important vascular cellular processes such as proliferation, migration, and endothelial tube formation, which are essential for placental vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. A better understanding of the molecular targets of homeobox genes may lead to new therapies for aberrant angiogenesis associated with clinically important pregnancy pathologies, including fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia.Frontiers in Pharmacology 06/2014; 5:133. DOI:10.3389/fphar.2014.00133
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ABSTRACT: The placenta acts a regulator of nutrient composition and supply from mother to fetus and is the source of hormonal signals that affect maternal and fetal metabolism. Thus, appropriate development of the placenta is crucial for normal fetal development. We investigated the effect of gestational protein restriction (GPR) on placental morphology and mitochondrial function on day 19 of gestation. Pregnant dams were divided into two groups: normal (NP 17 % casein) or low-protein diet (LP 6 % casein). The placentas were processed for biochemical, histomorphometric and ultrastructural analysis. The integrity of rat placental mitochondria (RPM) isolated by conventional differential centrifugation was measured by oxygen uptake (Clark-type electrode). LP animals presented an increase in adipose tissue and triacylglycerol and a decrease in serum insulin levels. No alterations were observed in body, liver, fetus, or placenta weight. There was also no change in serum glucose, total protein, or lipid content. Gestational protein restriction had tissue-specific respiratory effects, with the observation of a small change in liver respiration (~13 %) and considerable respiratory inhibition in placenta samples (~37 %). The higher oxygen uptake by RPM in the LP groups suggests uncoupling between respiration and oxidative phosphorylation. In addition, ultrastructural analysis of junctional zone giant cells from LP placenta showed a disorganized cytoplasm, with loss of integrity of most organelles and intense vacuolization. The present results led us to hypothesize that GPR alters placental structure and morphology, induces sensitivity to insulin, mitochondrial abnormalities and suggests premature aging of the placenta. Further studies are needed to test this hypothesis.Journal of molecular histology 07/2013; DOI:10.1007/s10735-013-9522-7 · 1.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Villitis of unknown etiology (VUE) is an inflammatory condition reported to occur in up to 15% of term placentas. It has been reported in association with fetal growth restriction and antepartum stillbirth. This study aimed to investigate the strength of these associations by completing a systematic review using established guidelines. 618 potentially relevant studies were identified. After exclusion of studies that were not relevant or of insufficient quality, a total of 24 case-control and cohort studies were included in the review. Studies were grouped according to whether their main focus was VUE, fetal growth restriction or stillbirth. A methodological quality assessment carried out for each group demonstrated significant heterogeneity in study design. VUE occurs more frequently in placentas of growth restricted infants. A significant link between VUE and stillbirth could not be reliably established because there were too few published studies. Further research into the pathological effects of VUE using robust protocols and reporting methods is required.Placenta 07/2013; 34(10). DOI:10.1016/j.placenta.2013.07.003 · 3.29 Impact Factor