ESPE Abstracts (2014) 82 P-D-1-1-143

Mitochondrial DNA in Placenta: Associations with Fetal Growth and Superoxide Dismutase Activity

Marta Díaza,b, Gemma Aragonésa,b, David Sánchez-Infantesa,b, Judit Bassolsc, Francis De Zegherd, Abel López-Bermejoc & Lourdes Ibáñeza,b


aPediatric Endocrinology, Hospital Sant Joan de Deu, University of Barcelona, Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; bCIBERDEM, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Barcelona, Spain; cPediatrics, Hospital Dr. Josep Trueta and Institute for Biomedical Research, Girona, Spain; dPediatric Endocrinology, University Hospital, Leuven, Belgium


Background: Prenatal growth restraint associates with increased oxidative stress – as judged by mitochondrial dysfunction – in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia or diabetes, but it is uncertain whether this is also the case in uncomplicated pregnancies.

Objective and hypotheses: To assess the link between fetal growth restraint and placental mitochondrial dysfunction, as reflected by changes in mitochondrial DNA content and superoxide dismutase activity.

Method: Placentas (n=48) were collected at term delivery of singleton infants whose gestations were uncomplicated and who were appropriate- or small-for-gestational-age (24 in each subgroup). Placentas were weighed at delivery, and placental tissue was obtained from the maternal side. Placental mitochondrial DNA content was assessed by real-time PCR, placental superoxide dismutase activity by colorimetry, and citrate synthase activity – to determine mitochondrial mass – by the spectrophotometric method.

Results and conclusion: Placentas of small-for-gestational-age infants had a lower mitochondrial DNA content (P=0.015) and a higher superoxide dismutase activity (P=0.001) than those of appropriate-for-gestational-age controls. These differences were maintained after normalization of the mitochondrial DNA content by citrate synthase activity. In placentas of small-for-gestational-age infants, there was a negative association between mitochondrial DNA content and superoxide dismutase activity (r=−0.58, P=0.008), suggesting that fetal growth restraint is accompanied by adaptive changes in mitochondrial function of placenta, also in uncomplicated pregnancies.

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