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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 30;9(1):e87621. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087621. eCollection 2014.

Preeclampsia is associated with alterations in the p53-pathway in villous trophoblast.

Author information

1
Maternal & Fetal Health Research Centre, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.
2
Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
3
Maternal & Fetal Health Research Centre, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom ; Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Preeclampsia (PE) is characterized by exaggerated apoptosis of the villous trophoblast of placental villi. Since p53 is a critical regulator of apoptosis we hypothesized that excessive apoptosis in PE is mediated by abnormal expression of proteins participating in the p53 pathway and that modulation of the p53 pathway alters trophoblast apoptosis in vitro.

METHODS:

Fresh placental villous tissue was collected from normal pregnancies and pregnancies complicated by PE; Western blotting and real-time PCR were performed on tissue lysate for protein and mRNA expression of p53 and downstream effector proteins, p21, Bax and caspases 3 and 8. To further assess the ability of p53 to modulate apoptosis within trophoblast, BeWo cells and placental villous tissue were exposed to the p53-activator, Nutlin-3, alone or in combination with the p53-inhibitor, Pifithrin-α (PFT-α). Equally, Mdm2 was knocked-down with siRNA.

RESULTS:

Protein expression of p53, p21 and Bax was significantly increased in pregnancies complicated by PE. Conversely, Mdm2 protein levels were significantly depleted in PE; immunohistochemistry showed these changes to be confined to trophoblast. Reduction in the negative feedback of p53 by Mdm2, using siRNA and Nutlin-3, caused an imbalance between p53 and Mdm2 that triggered apoptosis in term villous explants. In the case of Nutlin, this was attenuated by Pifithrin-α.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data illustrate the potential for an imbalance in p53 and Mdm2 expression to promote excessive apoptosis in villous trophoblast. The upstream regulation of p53 and Mdm2, with regard to exaggerated apoptosis and autophagy in PE, merits further investigation.

PMID:
24498154
PMCID:
PMC3907567
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0087621
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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