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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Apr 4;103(14):5478-83. Epub 2006 Mar 27.

Gene expression patterns in human placenta.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

The placenta is the principal metabolic, respiratory, excretory, and endocrine organ for the first 9 months of fetal life. Its role in fetal and maternal physiology is remarkably diverse. Because of the central role that the placenta has in fetal and maternal physiology and development, the possibility that variation in placental gene expression patterns might be linked to important abnormalities in maternal or fetal health, or even variations in later life, warrants investigation. As an initial step, we used DNA microarrays to analyze gene expression patterns in 72 samples of amnion, chorion, umbilical cord, and sections of villus parenchyma from 19 human placentas from successful full-term pregnancies. The umbilical cord, chorion, amnion, and villus parenchyma samples were readily distinguished by differences in their global gene-expression patterns, many of which seemed to be related to physiology and histology. Differentially expressed genes have roles that include placental trophoblast secretion, signal transduction, metabolism, immune regulation, cell adhesion, and structure. We found interindividual differences in expression patterns in villus parenchyma and systematic differences between the maternal, fetal, and intermediate layers. A group of genes that was expressed in both the maternal and fetal villus parenchyma sections of placenta included genes that may be associated with preeclampsia. We identified sets of genes whose expression in placenta was significantly correlated with the sex of the fetus. This study provides a rich and diverse picture of the molecular variation in the placenta from healthy pregnancies.

PMID:
16567644
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1414632
Free PMC Article
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