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J Endocrinol. 2012 Jul;214(1):79-85. doi: 10.1530/JOE-12-0091. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Altered placental expression of kisspeptin and its receptor in pre-eclampsia.

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Division of Biomedical Sciences, St George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.


Kisspeptin, originally identified as metastatin, important in preventing cancer metastasis, has more recently been shown to be important in pregnancy. Roles indicated for kisspeptin in pregnancy include regulating trophoblast invasion and migration during placentation. The pregnancy-specific disorder pre-eclampsia (PE) is now accepted to begin with inadequate trophoblast invasion and the current study therefore sets out to characterise placental expression of both kisspeptin (KISS1) and its receptor (KISS1R) throughout pregnancy and in PE. Placental tissue was obtained from women undergoing elective surgical termination of early pregnancy (n=10) and from women following Caesarean section at term in normal pregnancy (n=10) and with PE (n=10). Immunohistochemistry of paraffin embedded sections and western immunoblotting were performed to assess protein localisation and expression. Quantitative real-time PCR was carried out to evaluate mRNA expression of both KISS1 and KISS1R. Protein and mRNA expression was found to mirror each other with KISS1 expression found to be reduced in PE compared with that in normal term pregnancy. Interestingly, KISS1R expression at both the mRNA and protein levels was found to be increased in PE compared with that in normal term pregnancy. The current findings of increased KISS1R expression may represent a mechanism by which functional activity of KISS1 is higher in PE than in normal pregnancy. Higher levels of activity of KISS1R may be involved in inhibition of trophoblast invasion and angiogenesis, which are associated with PE.

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