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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Apr;1127:129-33. doi: 10.1196/annals.1434.015.

The placental syncytium and the pathophysiology of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction: a novel assay to assess syncytial protein expression.

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Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, 339 FMB, P.O. Box 208063, New Haven, CT 06520-8063, USA.


Preeclampsia is associated with an increased release of factors from the placental syncytium into maternal blood, including the antiangiogenic factors soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 and soluble endoglin, the antifibrinolytic factor plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, prostanoids, lipoperoxides, cytokines, and microparticles. These factors are suggested to promote maternal endothelium dysfunction and are associated with placental damage in pregnancies also complicated with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). In this report, we briefly describe the interaction of syncytial factors with hypoxia, reactive oxygen species, and apoptosis in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia and IUGR. Given the critical role of the syncytium in these complications of pregnancy, we also present a novel methodology in which laser capture microdissection followed by Western blotting is used to assess levels of syncytial Fas ligand, a key protein in the apoptotic cascade.

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