Author(s): Murthi P, Doherty V, Said J, Donath S, Brennecke SP,
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Abstract Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a clinically significant pregnancy disorder in which the fetus fails to achieve its full growth potential in utero. Identifiable causes of FGR account for approximately 30\% of cases, but the remainder are idiopathic and are frequently associated with placental malfunction. Previously, we isolated the homeobox gene HLX1 and provided evidence for a regulatory role in normal placental development. Here, we investigated whether placental HLX1 expression levels are changed in placentas from idiopathic FGR pregnancies. Real-time polymerase chain reaction quantitation showed reduced HLX1 mRNA levels with advancing gestation age (preterm control placentas, 27 to 35 weeks, 1.1 +/- 0.3, n = 13, versus term placentas 36 to 41 weeks, 0.74 +/- 0.02, n = 12, P < 0.005). FGR-affected placentas had significantly lower levels of HLX1 expression compared with gestation age-matched controls (0.36 +/- 0.07 versus 1.05 +/- 0.2, n = 25, P < 0.001). Immunoblotting with a rabbit polyclonal HLX1 antibody revealed reduced levels of HLX1 in FGR-affected placentas compared with controls (481.07 +/- 12.3 versus 2766.7 +/- 30.3, n = 10, P < 0.001). Immunohistochemistry showed a qualitative decrease in HLX1 immunoreactivity in FGR-affected term placentas compared with controls. This is the first demonstration that a homeobox transcriptional regulator shows altered expression in an important human placental disorder, suggesting that decreased HLX1 levels contribute to the abnormalities in placental developmental seen in idiopathic FGR.
This article was published in Am J Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Neonatal Biology