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Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2009 Nov;195(1):27-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cancergencyto.2009.03.015.

Telomere aggregate formation in placenta specimens of pregnancies complicated with pre-eclampsia.

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Department of OB-GYN, Meir Hospital, Kfar-Saba, Israel.


Telomeres are specific repetitive DNA sequences that cap and stabilize the ends of chromosomes. Functional telomeres are essential for the normal segregation and maintenance of chromosomes during mitotic and meiotic division. Pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy-specific syndrome of increased blood pressure accompanied by proteinuria, is often associated with growth deficiency in the fetus. Oxidative stress is a major component in the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia. In contrast to the nonoverlapping nature of telomeres in normal nuclei, telomeres of tumor nuclei tend to form aggregates (TAs) in various numbers and sizes. The formation of TAs represents a stress-related process and is independent of telomere length and telomerase activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate TA formation in paraffin-embedded placentas from pregnancies complicated with pre-eclampsia (study group), compared with placentas from normal pregnancies (control group). There were significantly more TAs in the study group (mean, 8.00 TAs per case) than in the control group (mean, 2.36 TAs per case) (P < 0.01). Pre-eclampsia-related stress may accelerate apoptosis and cell death and lead to placental dysfunction. TAs formation, which has been linked to stress and tumorgenesis is increased in placentas of pre-eclamptic patients.

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