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Reprod Sci. 2008 Nov;15(9):866-77. doi: 10.1177/1933719108322425.

Profiling gene expression in human placentae of different gestational ages: an OPRU Network and UW SCOR Study.

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Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


We used the whole-genome approach to identify major functional categories of genes whose expression depends on gestational age. Using microarray analysis, we compared gene expression profiles in the villous tissues of first (45-59 days) and second trimester (109-115 days) placentae with C-section term placentae. We found that in first trimester placentae, genes related to cell cycle, DNA, amino acids, and carbohydrate metabolism were significantly overrepresented, while genes related to signal transduction were underrepresented. Among genes involved in organism defense, we identified genes involved in chemical response, metabolism, and transport. Analysis of signal transduction pathways suggested, and subsequently confirmed independently, that the Wnt pathway was changed with gestational age leading to inhibition of beta-catenin protein expression. Our study will serve as a reference database to gain insight into the regulation of gene expression in the developing placentae and to compare with gene expression in placentae from complicated pregnancies.

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