Sex Differences in the mRNA Levels of Housekeeping Genes in Human Placenta

University of Southampton, School of Medicine, United Kingdom
Placenta (Impact Factor: 2.71). 06/2010; 31(6):556-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.placenta.2010.03.006
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Available from: Rohan M Lewis, Oct 07, 2014
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    • "Neonatal anthropometric measurements were adjusted for sex and gestational age and neonatal DXA measurements were adjusted for sex, gestational age and age at DXA. As there was a question regarding sex differences in mRNA levels between male and female placentas all mRNA data were adjusted for the sex of the baby [29]. Within group Z-scores were generated for femur length and abdominal circumference at 19 and 34 weeks. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alterations in expression of the imprinted gene PHLDA2 are linked to low birth weight in both humans and the mouse. However birth weight is a summary measure of fetal growth and provides little information on the growth rate of the fetus in early and late pregnancy. To examine the relation of PHLDA2 expression with rates of fetal growth and explore associations with the infant's body composition in early childhood, we measured PHLDA2 mRNA levels in the term placenta of 102 infants whose mothers were participating in the Southampton Women's Survey (SWS). Higher PHLDA2 expression was associated with a lower fetal femur growth velocity between 19 and 34 weeks gestation. In addition, higher placental PHLDA2 gene expression was associated with a lower child's bone mineral content at four years of age, measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The results suggest that placental PHLDA2 may provide a biomarker for suboptimal skeletal growth in pregnancies uncomplicated by overt fetal growth restriction.
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    ABSTRACT: Fetal growth depends on placental transfer of amino acids from maternal to fetal blood. The mechanisms of net amino acid efflux across the basal membrane (BM) of the placental syncytiotrophoblast to the fetus, although vital for amino acid transport, are poorly understood. We examined the hypothesis that facilitated diffusion by the amino acid transporters TAT1, LAT3 and LAT4 plays an important role in this process, with possible effects on fetal growth. Amino acid transfer was measured in isolated perfused human placental cotyledons (n = 5 per experiment) using techniques which distinguish between different transport processes. Placental TAT1, LAT3 and LAT4 proteins were measured, and mRNA expression levels (measured using real-time quantitative-PCR) were related to fetal and neonatal anthropometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry measurements of neonatal lean mass in 102 Southampton Women's Survey (SWS) infants. Under conditions preventing transport by amino acid exchangers, all amino acids appearing in the fetal circulation were substrates of TAT1, LAT3 or LAT4. Western blots demonstrated the presence of TAT1, LAT3 and LAT4 in placental BM preparations. Placental TAT1 and LAT3 mRNA expression were positively associated with measures of fetal growth in SWS infants (P < 0.05). We provide evidence that the efflux transporters TAT1, LAT3 and LAT4 are present in the human placental BM, and may play an important role in the net efflux of amino acids to the fetus. Unlike other transporters they can increase fetal amino acid concentrations. Consistent with a role in placental amino acid transfer capacity and fetal growth TAT1 and LAT3 mRNA expression showed positive associations with infant size at birth.
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