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J Mol Diagn. 2012 Mar-Apr;14(2):160-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2011.11.003. Epub 2012 Jan 15.

Absolute and relative quantification of placenta-specific micrornas in maternal circulation with placental insufficiency-related complications.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Cell Pathology, Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.


Placental insufficiency-related complications are one of the leading causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the quantification of placenta-specific microRNAs (miRNAs) in the maternal circulation during gestation in a cohort of women with normally progressing pregnancies, the differentiation between placental insufficiency-related complications and normally progressing pregnancies, and the differentiation between placental insufficiency and normally progressing pregnancies during the early stages of gestation. Both absolute and relative quantification of placenta-specific miRNAs (ie, miR-516-5p, miR-517*, miR-518b, miR-520a*, miR-520h, miR-525, and miR-526a) was determined in 50 women with normally progressing pregnancies, 32 with complicated pregnancies [21 with preeclampsia with or without intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and 11 with IUGR], and 7 women with pregnancies at various gestational stages who later developed preeclampsia and/or IUGR using real-time PCR and a comparative C(T) method relative to normalization factor (ie, geometric mean of ubiquitous miR-16 and let-7d). Both quantification approaches revealed significant increases in extracellular placenta-specific miRNA levels over time in women with normally progressing pregnancies; however, they were not able to differentiate between normally progressing and complicated pregnancies at the time of preeclampsia and/or IUGR onset. Nevertheless, significant elevation of extracellular miRNA levels was observed during early gestation (ie, within the 12th to 16th weeks) in pregnancies with later onset of preeclampsia and/or IUGR. Early gestation extracellular miRNA screening can differentiate between women with normally progressing pregnancies and those who may later develop placental insufficiency-related complications.

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