Determination of cytokine mRNA-expression in term human placenta of patients with gestational hypertension, intrauterine growth retardation and gestational diabetes mellitus using polymerase chain reaction.Zentralbl Gynakol 2000; 122(8):413-8ZG
Our objective was to test the hypothesis, that pregnancy-related diseases are going along with changes in cytokine mRNA-expression at the placental site, either as a part of a pathological process or in connection with regulatory mechanisms induced by disturbances at the feto-maternal interface resulting from previous pathological changes--in the sense of counterregulation.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The cytokines chosen for this investigation are known to 1.) be expressed in the human placental tissue, 2.) to be involved in immunological processes and 3.) the regulation of growth and differentiation processes of different cell types of the placenta or decidua, 4.) to play a role in the angiogenesis at the feto-placental interface and 5.) to be involved in pathological processes in other human diseases. 32 samples derived from term human placentas were examined for messenger RNA levels of interleukin 1 alpha (II-1 alpha), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), platelet derived growth factor-A chain (PDGF-A), platelet derived growth factor-B chain (PDGF-B), and platelet derived growth factor receptor (PDGF-R) using a semiquantitative reverse transcriptase (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol. To calibrate samples in our procedure, beta-actin mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) known as a "house keeping" gene was proven to be constantly expressed. The sample-groups consisted of normal pregnancies (n = 8), gestational hypertension (GH, n = 7), intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR, n = 6), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM, n = 5), and gemini (n = 3 x 2).
Throughout the 32 samples, a significant correlation between PDGF-A and PDGF-R expression, PDGF-A and TNF-alpha expression was stated (p = 0.007). Compared with the pattern of expression in normal placentas, placentas of growth retarded pregnancies had higher Il-1 alpha mRNA (p = 0.016), PDGF-A (p = 0.029) and PDGF-B (p = 0.001) levels. The samples of the gestational hypertension group and placentas of patients with gestational diabetes displayed a significantly stronger PDGF-R mRNA signal (p = 0.0029 and p = 0.008).
Though these marked differences in cytokine mRNA levels between clinical groups were statistically proven, clear correlation of these differences with clinical data was not found.