Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Placenta. 2009 Mar;30 Suppl A:S43-8. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2008.11.003. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

Placental endoplasmic reticulum stress and oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of unexplained intrauterine growth restriction and early onset preeclampsia.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, UK.


The pregnancy complications of unexplained intrauterine growth restriction and early onset preeclampsia are thought to share a common aetiology in placental malperfusion secondary to deficient maternal spiral artery conversion. A key question is whether the contrasting clinical manifestations reflect different placental pathologies, or whether they are due to altered maternal responses to a common factor derived from the placenta. Recently, molecular evidence of protein synthesis inhibition secondary to endoplasmic reticulum stress has provided an explanation for the small placental phenotype in both conditions. However, other pathways activated by more severe endoplasmic reticulum stress are only observed in placentas from pregnancies associated with early onset preeclampsia. Here, we review the literature and conclude that there is evidence of greater maternal vascular compromise of the placenta in these cases. We speculate that in cases of normotensive intrauterine growth restriction the placental pathology is centred predominantly around endoplasmic reticulum stress, whereas in cases complicated by preeclampsia oxidative stress is further superimposed. This causes the release of a potent mix of pro-inflammatory cytokines, anti-angiogenic factors and trophoblastic aponecrotic debris into the maternal circulation that causes the peripheral syndrome. Maternal and fetal constitutional factors may modulate how the placenta responds to the maternal vascular insult, and how the mother is affected by the placental factors released. However, the principal conclusion is that the difference between these two conditions lies in the severity of the initiating deficit in spiral arterial conversion, and the relative degrees of endoplasmic reticulum stress and oxidative stress induced in the placenta as a result.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center