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Gene Expression Patterns Found Throughout Placenta

Variations exist between individuals, give clues to physiology and pathology

FRIDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found that unique gene expression patterns can be detected throughout sections of healthy, full-term placentas but that the patterns can vary between individuals, according to a report published online March 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ruchira Sood, Ph.D., and colleagues from Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., performed microarray analysis on 72 different placental tissue samples isolated from amnion, chorion, umbilical cord, and sections of the villus parenchyma from 19 singleton, healthy, full-term placentas.

Patterns of gene expression were found in different sections and correlated well with known physiology, and may explain disease pathology. For example, both the maternal and fetal parenchyma expressed genes that may be involved in pre-eclampsia.

The authors also found sex-specific patterns of gene expression that may be involved in gender-specific differences observed during fetal development, including fetus size and immune activity.

These results "should provide a valuable resource for investigations into pregnancy disorders that involve placental defect and, perhaps, even for diseases of later life that may have fetal origins," the authors concluded.

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