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Expression of Placental Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) in Physiological Pregnancy, Preeclampsia and Chorioamnionitis

Keywords: neurotrophins , pregnancy , placenta , chorioamnionitis , preeclampsia

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Abstract:

Neurotrophic factors are a group of proteins that act as paracrine and autocrine growth factors. They are involved in the regulation of morphogenesis and development of several tissues. The present study aims to evaluate, for the first time, the expression of Neurotrophin-3 in the human placenta during normal pregnancy and in preeclampsia and chorioamnionitis. Neurotrophin-3 mRNA, assessed by RT-PCR analysis in six term placentas, were observed in all the specimens examined. Neurotrophin-3 protein expression and tissue distribution was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in placenta samples from uncomplicated first trimester (n = 5) and term (n = 5) pregnancies as well as in specimens from preeclampsia (n = 5) and chorioamnionitis (n = 5). In first trimester specimens, strong immunoreactivity was present in villous stromal cells, in the cyto- and syncytiotrophoblast, in decidua cells and in endometrial glands. Third trimester specimens showed prominent immunostaining in cyto- and syncytiotrophoblast cells, in decidua cells and in the amniotic membranes. Villous stromal cells were weakly stained. Similar protein localization was observed in placentas with preeclampsia and chorioamnionitis. In the latter, however, positive villous stromal cells increased in number and in staining intensity when compared with controls and preeclampsia (p < 0.001). The roles of Neurotrophin-3 in pregnancy are presently unknown. A regulatory function on placenta and foetal brain development and maternal inflammatory response may be hypothesized.

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