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PLAC1 (Placenta-Specific 1) is a recently described, trophoblast-expressed gene essential for normal placental development. The protein localizes to the microvillus membrane surface of the syncytiotrophoblast in direct proximity to the maternal compartment. Although its role has not been defined, increased circulating levels of human PLAC1 mRNA in maternal blood are associated with preeclampsia. Furthermore, PLAC1-null mice exhibit decreased viability in the peripartum period suggesting a role in pregnancy maintenance late in gestation. We examined PLAC1 gene expression in the human placenta during normal pregnancy and pregnancies associated with maternal diabetes and preeclampsia using quantitative, real time PCR (q-RT-PCR). Although there was no apparent difference in PLAC1 gene expression among human pregnancies complicated by diabetes or preeclampsia, an unexpected effect of labor was noted at term. PLAC1 expression in placentae delivered vaginally following induced or spontaneous labor was significantly reduced compared to placentae not exposed to labor making it one of only a few placental genes influenced by labor. The significance of this finding is unknown. Viewed in the context of its importance in placental development, however, these findings are consistent with a role for PLAC1 in the maintenance of the maternal-fetal interface.

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International Scholarly Research Notices, v. 2013, art. 704252

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