Maternal Obesity Alters Placental Cell Cycle Regulators in the First Trimester of Human Pregnancy: New Insights for BRCA1


In the first trimester of pregnancy, placental development involves a wide range of cellular processes. These include trophoblast proliferation, fusion, and differentiation, which are dependent on tight cell cycle control. The intrauterine environment affects placental development, which also includes the trophoblast cell cycle. In this work, we focus on maternal obesity to assess whether an altered intrauterine milieu modulates expression and protein levels of placental cell cycle regulators in early human pregnancy. For this purpose, we use first trimester placental tissue from lean and obese women (gestational week 5+0-11+6, n = 58). Using a PCR panel, a cell cycle protein array, and STRING database analysis, we identify a network of cell cycle regulators increased by maternal obesity in which breast cancer 1 (BRCA1) is a central player. Immunostaining localizes BRCA1 predominantly to the villous and the extravillous cytotrophoblast. Obesity-driven BRCA1 upregulation is not able to be explained by DNA methylation (EPIC array) or by short-term treatment of chorionic villous explants at 2.5% oxygen with tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) (50 mg/mL), leptin (100 mg/mL), interleukin 6 (IL-6) (100 mg/mL), or high glucose (25 nM). Oxygen tension rises during the first trimester, but this change in vitro has no effect on BRCA1 (2.5% and 6.5% O2). We conclude that maternal obesity affects placental cell cycle regulation and speculate this may alter placental development

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