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The objective of this study was to quantify the relative expression of inhibin alpha, inhibin/activin beta(A), beta(B), beta(C), follistatin, activin receptors and beta-glycan genes in placental tissue of term pre-eclamptic patients and controls to investigate if these genes are up-regulated in the placenta in pre-eclampsia. Seven women with pre-eclampsia symptoms were matched with 10 normal pregnant controls for gestational age, maternal age, and parity. Total RNA was isolated from each sample. Complementary DNA samples produced by reverse transcription were used in the real time PCR to quantify the expression of inhibin alpha subunit, inhibin/activin beta(A), beta(B), beta(C) subunits, follistatin, ACTRIA, ACTRIB, ACTRIIA, ACTRIIB, beta-glycan and GAPDH genes. The ratio between the target and GAPDH expression was calculated to provide relative gene expression. Inhibin alpha:GAPDH and inhibin/activin beta(A): GAPDH ratios were significantly higher in placental tissue from women with pre-eclampsia (P = 0.04 and P = 0.01 respectively) compared with matched control placental gene expression. Placental samples from both groups expressed beta(B), beta(C), follistatin, activin receptors and beta-glycan genes. However, there was no significant difference in the relative expression of these genes between the groups. Increases in the placental expression of inhibin alpha and inhibin/activin beta(A) subunit genes could contribute to the rise in circulating levels of inhibin A and activin A in pre-eclampsia. The mechanism(s) involved in increased gene expression in pre-eclampsia is as yet unclear.


Journal article


Mol Hum Reprod

Publication Date





199 - 203


Activin Receptors, Activins, Female, Follistatin, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Inhibins, Placenta, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Protein Subunits, Proteoglycans, Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta