Fetal sex-related dysregulation in testosterone production and their receptor expression in the human placenta with preeclampsia.
ABSTRACT To determine the effects of fetal sex on aromatase and androgen receptor (AR) expression in the placenta of normal and preeclamptic pregnancies.
Placentae from preeclamptic (five female and six male fetuses) and healthy pregnancies (seven female and seven male fetuses) were examined by immunofluorescence, western blotting and quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR.
Placental AR levels were significantly higher (P<0.05) in placentae of both male and female fetuses compared with their respective sexes in normal pregnancies. The placental aromatase levels varied depending on fetal sex. If the fetus was female, aromatase levels were substantially higher (P<0.05) in preeclamptic than in normal placentae. If the fetus was male, the aromatase levels were significantly lower (P<0.05) in preeclamptic than in normal placentae. Placental aromatase levels were significantly higher (P<0.05) in male- than in female-bearing normal placentae.
Dysregulation in androgen production and signaling in preeclamptic placentae may contribute to placental abnormalities, increasing the frequency of maternal-fetal complications associated with preeclampsia.