The placenta is the primary site of nutrient and gas exchange between mother and foetus. During human placental development, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis occur at different stages. In order to clarify some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these events, we investigated the pattern of expression of two members of the Bcl-2 family in human placenta samples and compared them to the level of apoptosis detected by the TUNEL method. In particular, we evaluated the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax and their ratio during the first and third trimester. We found that Bcl-2 was generally expressed at low levels during the entire gestational period. On the other hand, Bax was low during the first trimester but increased towards the end of gestation. In accordance with the change of ratio of these two molecules, the increase of apoptotic cells was observable in the third trimester. These data indicate that Bcl-2 and Bax are spatio-temporally regulated during placental development and that the different expression of the above mentioned genes is at least in part responsible for the delicate balance between cell proliferation and programmed cell death in the human placenta during pregnancy.

Alteration of the Bcl-2: Bax ratio in the placenta as pregnancy proceeds

BALDI, Alfonso;DE LUCA, Antonio
2001

Abstract

The placenta is the primary site of nutrient and gas exchange between mother and foetus. During human placental development, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis occur at different stages. In order to clarify some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these events, we investigated the pattern of expression of two members of the Bcl-2 family in human placenta samples and compared them to the level of apoptosis detected by the TUNEL method. In particular, we evaluated the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax and their ratio during the first and third trimester. We found that Bcl-2 was generally expressed at low levels during the entire gestational period. On the other hand, Bax was low during the first trimester but increased towards the end of gestation. In accordance with the change of ratio of these two molecules, the increase of apoptotic cells was observable in the third trimester. These data indicate that Bcl-2 and Bax are spatio-temporally regulated during placental development and that the different expression of the above mentioned genes is at least in part responsible for the delicate balance between cell proliferation and programmed cell death in the human placenta during pregnancy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/195420
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