Hypoxia-induced alpha-globin expression in syncytiotrophoblasts mimics the pattern observed in preeclamptic placentas

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Preeclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy disorder associated with placental dysfunction and elevated fetal hemoglobin (HbF). Early in pregnancy the placenta harbors hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) and is an extramedullary source of erythropoiesis. However, globin expression is not unique to erythroid cells and can be triggered by hypoxia. To investigate the role of the placenta in increasing globin levels previously reported in PE, flow cytometry, histological and immunostaining and in situ analyses were used on placenta samples and ex vivo explant cultures. Our results indicated that in PE pregnancies, placental HSPC homing and erythropoiesis were not affected. Non-erythroid alpha-globin mRNA and protein, but not gamma-globin, were detected in syncytiotrophoblasts and stroma of PE placenta samples. Similarly, alpha-globin protein and mRNA were upregulated in normal placenta explants cultured in hypoxia. The upregulation was inde-pendent of HIF1 and NRF2, the two main candidates of globin transcription in non-erythroid cells. Our study is the first to demonstrate alpha-globin mRNA expression in syncytiotrophoblasts in PE, induced by hypoxia. However, gamma-globin was only expressed in erythrocytes. We conclude that alpha-globin, but not HbF, is expressed in placental syncytiotrophoblasts in PE and may contribute to the pathology of the disease.

TidskriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
StatusPublished - 2021

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Reproduktionsmedicin och gynekologi


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