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Placenta. 2002 Feb-Mar;23(2-3):172-4.

Placental morphogenesis in pregnancies with Down's syndrome might provide a clue to pre-eclampsia.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London, SW17 0RE, UK.


Insufficient perfusion of placenta in pre-eclampsia is commonly associated with oxidative stress leading to increased superoxide formation and reduced invasion of uterine spiral arteries by differentiated migratory cytotrophoblasts. The superoxide dismutase (SOD) level, responsible for eliminating toxic superoxides, drops significantly in pre-eclampsia. On the contrary, the SOD synthesis increases dramatically, compared to that of normal placenta, in pregnancies with trisomy 21 (T21) fetus. However, despite a low level of placental hypoplasia, the overall perfusion of T21 placentae is comparable to that of normal pregnancy. In the light of recent reports on alternative modes of SOD function and factors regulating pathways of cytotrophoblast differentiation, here we have attempted to reconcile the two seemingly disparate pregnancy conditions and suggest that trisomy 21 pregnancies might provide new insight into our understanding of placental morphogenesis in pre-eclampsia.

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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