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Title: Human Placental Transcriptome Reveals Critical Alterations in Inflammation and Energy Metabolism with Fetal Sex Differences in Spontaneous Preterm Birth.

Authors: Lien, Yu-Chin; Zhang, Zhe; Cheng, Yi; Polyak, Erzsebet; Sillers, Laura; Falk, Marni J; Ischiropoulos, Harry; Parry, Samuel; Simmons, Rebecca A

Published In Int J Mol Sci, (2021 Jul 23)

Abstract: A well-functioning placenta is crucial for normal gestation and regulates the nutrient, gas, and waste exchanges between the maternal and fetal circulations and is an important endocrine organ producing hormones that regulate both the maternal and fetal physiologies during pregnancy. Placental insufficiency is implicated in spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB). We proposed that deficits in the capacity of the placenta to maintain bioenergetic and metabolic stability during pregnancy may ultimately result in SPTB. To explore our hypothesis, we performed a RNA-seq study in male and female placentas from women with SPTB (<36 weeks gestation) compared to normal pregnancies (≥38 weeks gestation) to assess the alterations in the gene expression profiles. We focused exclusively on Black women (cases and controls), who are at the highest risk of SPTB. Six hundred and seventy differentially expressed genes were identified in male SPTB placentas. Among them, 313 and 357 transcripts were increased and decreased, respectively. In contrast, only 61 differentially expressed genes were identified in female SPTB placenta. The ingenuity pathway analysis showed alterations in the genes and canonical pathways critical for regulating inflammation, oxidative stress, detoxification, mitochondrial function, energy metabolism, and the extracellular matrix. Many upstream regulators and master regulators important for nutrient-sensing and metabolism were also altered in SPTB placentas, including the PI3K complex, TGFB1/SMADs, SMARCA4, TP63, CDKN2A, BRCA1, and NFAT. The transcriptome was integrated with published human placental metabolome to assess the interactions of altered genes and metabolites. Collectively, significant and biologically relevant alterations in the transcriptome were identified in SPTB placentas with fetal sex disparities. Altered energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, inflammation, and detoxification may underly the mechanisms of placental dysfunction in SPTB.

PubMed ID: 34360662 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Adult; Energy Metabolism*; Female; Gestational Age; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Inflammation/genetics; Inflammation/immunology; Inflammation/metabolism; Inflammation/pathology*; Male; Placenta Diseases/genetics; Placenta Diseases/immunology; Placenta Diseases/metabolism; Placenta Diseases/pathology*; Placenta/immunology; Placenta/metabolism; Placenta/pathology*; Pregnancy; Premature Birth/genetics; Premature Birth/immunology; Premature Birth/metabolism; Premature Birth/pathology*; Sex Factors; Transcriptome*

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