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DOI: 10.3389/fped.2020.00459; PMCID: PMC7485381


Introduction: Timing of medical delivery of preterm newborns exposed to placental insufficiency is largely determined by umbilical artery blood flow and maternal clinical manifestations. There is a lack of tools to properly assess fetal body response to placental insufficiency before or upon delivery. Yet, short- and long-term comorbidities associated with placental insufficiency and the consequential intrauterine growth restriction may be a result of fetal response following prolonged stress. This study aims to establish a procedure to investigate fetal/neonatal transcriptional response to placental insufficiency as part of an initiative to identify cost-effective biomarkers for assessing fetal response to placental insufficiency.

Methods: A prospective pilot study involving newborns with birth gestation- preeclampsia without placental insufficiency (PE), placental insufficiency (PI), and non-PE/PI groups.

Results: Whole blood from 11, 3, and 6 newborns in the non-PE/PI, PE, and PI groups were obtained. A transcriptome analysis found that the majority of the genes were downregulated in the PI group, suggesting global transcriptional inactivation. Intriguingly, SLC25A42, which encodes a mitochondrial transporter for coenzyme A and adenosine-3',5'-diphosphate, was significantly upregulated in the PI group.

Conclusion: Transcriptional biomarkers for assessing fetal response to placental insufficiency may provide a useful tool to better understand the pathophysiology of fetal reprogramming in response to placental insufficiency. The validity and the role of SLC25A42, as well as its correlation with short- and long-term neonatal outcomes, warrants further investigation.

Journal Title

Front Pediatr



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fetal reprogramming; intrauterine growth restriction; placental insufficiency; transcriptional biomarkers; transcriptome analysis.


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