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Reprod Sci. 2011 Jan;18(1):46-56. doi: 10.1177/1933719110374115. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

Expression profile of microRNAs and mRNAs in human placentas from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia and preterm labor.

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Department of OB/GYN, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of gene expression stability implicated in cell proliferation, apoptosis, and development, whereas their altered expression has been associated with various pathological disorders. The objective of this study was to assess the expression profile of miRNAs and their predicted target genes in placentas from patients with preeclampsia (PC) and preterm (PT) labor as compared to normal term (NT) pregnancies. Using microarray profiling of 820 miRNAs and 18,630 mRNA transcripts, the analysis indicated that 283 of these miRNAs and 9119 mRNAs were expressed in all placentas, of which the relative expression of 20 miRNAs (P < .05 and ≥ 1.5-fold) and 120 mRNAs (P < .05, and 2-fold cutoff) was differentially expressed in PT and PC as compared to NT. The expression of miR-15b, miR-181a, miR-200C, miR-210, miR-296-3p, miR-377, miR-483-5p, and miR-493 and a few of their predicted target genes: matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1, MMP-9), a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domains (ADAM-17, ADAM-30), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP-3); suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1); Stanniocalcin (STC2); corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), CRH-binding protein (CRHBP); and endothelin-2 (EDN2) were validated in these cohorts using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), some displaying an inverse correlation with the expression of their predicted target genes. Functional analysis indicated that the products of these genes regulate cellular activities considered critical in normal placental functions and those affected by PC and PT labor. In conclusion, the results provide further evidence that placentas affected by PC and PT labor display an altered expression of a number of miRNAs with potential regulatory functions on the expression of specific target genes whose altered expression and function have been associated with these pregnancy complications.

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