Gestational protein restriction alters cell proliferation in rat placenta
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We recently showed that gestational protein restriction (GPR) alters the structure of the rat placenta on day 19 of gestation (dG). The aim of the study was to investigate the spatial and temporal immunolocalization of proliferating cell antigen Ki67 in normal and GPR placental development. Pregnant Wistar rats were divided into two groups: normal (NP, 17 % casein) or low-protein diet (LP, 6 % casein). Placentas and fetus were collected and weighed at 15, 17, 19 and 21 dG. Morphological, morphometric and ultrastructural analyses were performed. Immunoperoxidase was used to identify nuclear antigen Ki67 in placental sections. We observed a significant reduction in the number of trophoblast giant cells and glycogen cells in the LP group. Placental weight was significantly reduced only at 17 dG in the LP group, in parallel to a decrease in glycogen cells. From 15 to 21 dG, the thickness of the junctional zone (JZ) decreased in NP and LP animals, while that of the labyrinth zone (LZ) increased in parallel to a reduction in the number of proliferating cells in this LZ zone. GPR significantly inhibits cell proliferation in the JZ, especially at 15 and 17 dG. The ultrastructural appearance of the cytoplasm of giant and cytotrophoblastic cells indicates degeneration from 15 to 21 dG and this effect is enhanced in LP animals suggesting early aging. Offspring of NP dams were significantly heavier than offspring of LP dams at 21 dG. GPR causes modifications in specific regions of the placenta, cell proliferation inhibition and fetal growth restriction.
KeywordsPlacenta Cell proliferation Protein restriction Pregnancy Rat Morphology
The authors thank Daniela Neodini and Renata Barbieri for excellent technical assistance, and Prof. Dr. Paulo P. Joazeiro, IB, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brazil, for help with the ultrastructural study. This work was partially supported by grants from the Brazilian funding agencies FHO-Uniararas. EFSR was recipient of undergraduate fellowships from Programa Iniciação Científica do Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa (PIBIC/CNPq).
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