Divergent trophoblast invasion and apoptosis in placental bed spiral arteries from pregnancies complicated by maternal anemia and early-onset preeclampsia/intrauterine growth restriction

Mamed Kadyrov, John C P Kingdom, Berthold Huppertz
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2006, 194 (2): 557-63

OBJECTIVE: Impaired trophoblast invasion into spiral arteries is associated with early-onset intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia. We compared trophoblast invasion into spiral arteries in pregnancies with maternal anemia or early-onset preeclampsia/intrauterine growth restriction and related these findings to trophoblast apoptosis.

STUDY DESIGN: Full-thickness uterine wall samples were obtained from women with early-onset preeclampsia/intrauterine growth restriction (n = 6), normal pregnancies (n = 5), and chronic anemia (n = 8). Trophoblast invasion into the walls of spiral arteries was quantified by morphometric analysis of paraffin sections stained with anticytokeratin 18, antiactin, and anticytokeratin 18 neoepitope (M30) antibodies.

RESULTS: Trophoblast invasion into spiral arteries was increased in anemic pregnancies (mean [SD]: 206 [46] cell profiles/mm2) and severely impaired in preeclamptic/intrauterine growth restriction pregnancies (17 [6]), compared with normal subjects (149 [52]). Spiral artery lumen area was increased in anemia (0.07 [0.03] mm2) versus normal pregnancies (0.09 [0.04] mm2) and reduced in preeclampsia/intrauterine growth restriction (0.04 [0.02] mm2). Trophoblast apoptosis was similar in anemic (4.2% [3.4%]) and normal (5.0% [1.9%]) pregnancies but increased in preeclampsia/intrauterine growth restriction (12% [5.6%]).

CONCLUSION: Trophoblast invasion into the placental bed in early-onset preeclampsia/intrauterine growth restriction is limited by increased apoptosis, resulting in narrower spiral arteries, which is in contrast to findings in anemia.

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