Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Jul;177(1):57-65.

Placental apoptosis in normal human pregnancy.

Author information

  • 1University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nottingham, City Hospital, United Kingdom.



The study aims were to conclusively demonstrate apoptosis in the human placenta and to quantify its incidence at different stages of pregnancy.


Placental samples were obtained from 28 first-trimester pregnancies and 38 uncomplicated third-trimester pregnancies. Light microscopy, electron microscopy, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate marker nick end-labeling staining were used to identify apoptosis. Light microscopy was used to quantify its incidence.


Apoptosis has been conclusively demonstrated within placental tissue. Quantification of apoptosis (medians and interquartile ranges) was as follows: first trimester (n = 28), 0.07% of cells (0.05% to 0.14%); third trimester (n = 39), 0.14% of cells (0.09% to 0.20%). The incidence of apoptosis was significantly higher in the third trimester than in the first trimester (p < 0.01, Mann-Whitney U test).


Placental apoptosis increases significantly as pregnancy progresses, suggesting that it may play a role in the normal development and aging of the placenta.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk