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Our objective was to determine whether chorionicity affects umbilical cord blood acid-base parameters of the second twin. This was a retrospective cohort of twin pregnancies delivered at ≥23 weeks of gestation at a tertiary hospital from 2010 to 2016. Patients were included if arterial and venous umbilical cord gas results were available for both newborns and chorionicity was confirmed histologically. Exclusion criteria included intrauterine fetal demise of either twin prior to labor, major fetal anomalies, monoamnionicity, uncertain chronicity and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. The primary outcome evaluated was the umbilical artery (UA) pH of the second twin. A total of 593 dichorionic (DC) and 86 monochorionic (MC) twin pregnancies were included. No difference in UA pH was observed between MC and DC twins. Among vaginal deliveries (n = 97), the UA pH of the first twin was higher than the second twin (7.26 vs. 7.24; p = .01). Twin-to-twin delivery interval (TTDI) ≥20 min was associated with a higher UA pH in the first twin compared to the second twin (7.25 vs. 7.16, respectively; p = .006). Multivariable logistic regression was used to predict arterial pH < 7.20 for the second twin; the most predictive factors were arterial pH < 7.20 for the first twin, chronic hypertension and prolonged TTDI. Chorionicity was not associated with any acid-base parameter of umbilical cord blood in either the first or second twin. No differences in neonatal outcomes were observed based on chorionicity or birth order. Populations with a lower cesarean delivery rate may yield different findings.
Exposure to glucocorticoid levels higher than appropriate for current developmental stages induces offspring metabolic dysfunction. Overfed/obese (OB) ewes and their fetuses display elevated blood cortisol, while fetal Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) remains unchanged. We hypothesized that OB pregnancies would show increased placental 11β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (11β-HSD2) that converts maternal cortisol to fetal cortisone as it crosses the placenta and increased 11β-HSD system components responsible for peripheral tissue cortisol production, providing a mechanism for ACTH-independent increase in circulating fetal cortisol. Control ewes ate 100% National Research Council recommendations (CON) and OB ewes ate 150% CON diet from 60 days before conception until necropsy at day 135 gestation. At necropsy, maternal jugular and umbilical venous blood, fetal liver, perirenal fat, and cotyledonary tissues were harvested. Maternal plasma cortisol and fetal cortisol and cortisone were measured. Fetal liver, perirenal fat, cotyledonary 11β-HSD1, hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PD), and 11β-HSD2 protein abundance were determined by Western blot. Maternal plasma cortisol, fetal plasma cortisol, and cortisone were higher in OB vs. CON (p < 0.01). 11β-HSD2 protein was greater (p < 0.05) in OB cotyledonary tissue than CON. 11β-HSD1 abundance increased (p < 0.05) in OB vs. CON fetal liver and perirenal fat. Fetal H6PD, an 11β-HSD1 cofactor, also increased (p < 0.05) in OB vs. CON perirenal fat and tended to be elevated in OB liver (p < 0.10). Our data provide evidence for increased 11β-HSD system components responsible for peripheral tissue cortisol production in fetal liver and adipose tissue, thereby providing a mechanism for an ACTH-independent increase in circulating fetal cortisol in OB fetuses.
Evidence suggests that sub-optimal maternal nutrition has implications for the developing offspring. We have previously shown that exposure to a low-protein diet during gestation was associated with upregulation of genes associated with cholesterol transport and packaging within the placenta. This study aimed to elucidate the effect of altering maternal dietary linoleic acid (LA; omega-6) to alpha-linolenic acid (ALA; omega-6) ratios as well as total fat content on placental expression of genes associated with cholesterol transport. The potential for maternal body mass index (BMI) to be associated with expression of these genes in human placental samples was also evaluated. Placentas were collected from 24 Wistar rats at 20-day gestation (term = 21–22-day gestation) that had been fed one of four diets containing varying fatty acid compositions during pregnancy, and from 62 women at the time of delivery. Expression of 14 placental genes associated with cholesterol packaging and transfer was assessed in rodent and human samples by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction. In rats, placental mRNA expression of ApoA2, ApoC2, Cubn, Fgg, Mttp and Ttr was significantly elevated (3–30 fold) in animals fed a high LA (36% fat) diet, suggesting increased cholesterol transport across the placenta in this group. In women, maternal BMI was associated with fewer inconsistent alterations in gene expression. In summary, sub-optimal maternal nutrition is associated with alterations in the expression of genes associated with cholesterol transport in a rat model. This may contribute to altered fetal development and potentially programme disease risk in later life. Further investigation of human placenta in response to specific dietary interventions is required.
This article, part of a historical study of childbirth in the Sahel, draws upon oral interviews, ethnographic materials, and studies of midwifery to explore placenta burial in Niger. In the region the placenta is often referred to as the “traveling companion” that ushers the new human from one world to the next. Only through proper respect toward the placenta by means of careful burial can a woman’s future fertility be protected. The importance of protecting a woman’s future reproductive capacity accounts for both the centrality of this ritual to childbirth and for the appeal of the ritual expertise of elderly “traditional birth attendants” despite access to bio-medically trained midwives. Protecting a vulnerable parturient mother from the envy of those (such as co-wives) who might “tie up” her womb is an integral part of the process of childbirth. Appropriate placenta burial orchestrated by a woman’s therapy management group makes good on the cyclical intergenerational entrustment through which ancestors and descendants endure in a cycle linking birth and death, planting, and burial. “Traditional” rituals bear marks of major shifts in the agricultural economy, rapid urbanization, and ongoing adoption and reinterpretation of Islam. Multi-generational interviews reveal that across a broad range of ethnicities, status groups, and educational profiles, women in Niger share a concern for proper placenta burial. This approach to preserving women’s reproductive health and fertility is shared by adjacent neighbors, generations, and ethnicities.
Fe deficiency is relatively common in pregnancy and has both short- and long-term consequences. However, little is known about the effect on the metabolism of other micronutrients. A total of fifty-four female rats were fed control (50 mg Fe/kg) or Fe-deficient diets (7·5 mg/kg) before and during pregnancy. Maternal liver, placenta and fetal liver were collected at day 21 of pregnancy for Cu and Zn analysis and to measure expression of the major genes of Cu and Zn metabolism. Cu levels increased in the maternal liver (P=0·002) and placenta (P=0·018) of Fe-deficient rats. Zn increased (P<0·0001) and Cu decreased (P=0·006) in the fetal liver. Hepatic expression of the Cu chaperones antioxidant 1 Cu chaperone (P=0·042) and cytochrome c oxidase Cu chaperone (COX17, P=0·020) decreased in the Fe-deficient dams, while the expression of the genes of Zn metabolism was unaltered. In the placenta, Fe deficiency reduced the expression of the chaperone for superoxide dismutase 1, Cu chaperone for superoxide dismutase (P=0·030), ceruloplasmin (P=0·042) and Zn transport genes, ZRT/IRT-like protein 4 (ZIP4, P=0·047) and Zn transporter 1 (ZnT1, P=0·012). In fetal liver, Fe deficiency increased COX17 (P=0·020), ZRT/IRT-like protein 14 (P=0·036) and ZnT1 (P=0·0003) and decreased ZIP4 (P=0·004). The results demonstrate that Fe deficiency during pregnancy has opposite effects on Cu and Zn levels in the fetal liver. This may, in turn, alter metabolism of these nutrients, with consequences for development in the fetus and the neonate.
The epidemic of prescription and non-prescription opioid misuse is of particular importance in pregnancy. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada currently recommends opioid replacement therapy with methadone or buprenorphine for opioid-dependent women during pregnancy. This vulnerable segment of the population has been shown to be at increased risk of blood-borne infectious diseases, nutritional insecurity and stress. The objective of this study was to describe an urban cohort of pregnant women on opioid replacement therapy and to evaluate potential effects on the fetus. A retrospective chart review of all women on opioid replacement therapy and their infants who delivered at The Ottawa Hospital General and Civic campuses between January 1, 2013 and March 24, 2017 was conducted. Data were collected on maternal characteristics, pregnancy outcomes, neonatal outcomes and corresponding placental pathology. Maternal comorbidities identified included high rates of infection, tobacco use and illicit substance use, as well as increased rates of placental abruption compared with national averages. Compared with national baseline averages, the mean neonatal birth weight was low, and the incidence of small for gestational age infants and congenital anomalies was high. The incidence of NAS was comparable with estimates from other studies of similar cohorts. Findings support existing literature that calls for a comprehensive interdisciplinary risk reduction approach including dietary, social, domestic, psychological and other supports to care for opioid-dependent women in pregnancy.
A total of twenty-four healthy twin-bearing Liuyang black goats were allocated to two trials. In Trial 1, twelve goats received either the control diet (CG, n 6, 100 % feed) or restricted diet (RG, n 6, 60 % feed of CG) from gestation days 26 to 65 after synchronisation. In Trial 2, the remaining goats were randomly and equally divided into two treatments: CG and RG from days 95 to 125 of gestation. Placental traits, fetal weight, serum parameters, nitric oxide (NO), angiogenesis gene expression and cotyledon proteome were measured at the end of each trial. In early pregnancy, the total and relative weights of placenta, uterine caruncle and cotyledon, as well as fetus, were increased (P<0·05) in RG. The NO content in maternal serum was also increased (P<0·05) in RG. In all, fifty differentially expressed proteins were identified in cotyledon. The up-regulated proteins are related to proliferation and fission of trophoblast cell and the placenta angiogenesis. During the late pregnancy trial, placental weight was increased (P<0·05) in RG, but weight of the fetus was decreased (P<0·05). The capillary density in the cotyledon was also decreased (P<0·01). A total of fifty-eight proteins were differentially expressed in cotyledon. The up-regulated proteins in RG are related to placenta formation, blood flow regulation and embryonic development. These results indicated that feed intake restriction during gestation influenced the placental and fetal development in a stage-dependent manner. These findings have important implications for developing novel nutrient management strategies in goat production.
It was reported that high blood cholesterol levels increased the susceptibility to mitochondrial dysfunction. This study hypothesized that the gestational hypercholesterolemia (HC) could induce the mitochondrial dysfunction in term human placenta. The eligible pregnant women were recruited from Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing during their first prenatal visit (before their 10th week of pregnancy). In total, 19 pregnant women whose serum total cholesterol levels were higher than 7.25 mm at third trimester (measured at 36–38 weeks) were selected as gestational HC. Other 19 pregnant women with normal cholesterol level matched with age, pre-gestational body mass index, and the neonatal gender were included as the control group. Full-term placenta samples were collected. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, adenosine triphosphate monophosphatase 6 (ATP6ase), citrate synthase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) co-activator 1α, PPARγ co-activator 1β and estrogen-related receptor-α, and the activity of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme complex were measured. Pregnancy outcomes were obtained by extraction from medical records and the labor ward register. The results showed that only placental mtDNA copy number and mRNA expression of ATP6ase were significantly decreased in HC group. No significant differences were detected of other measurements between the two groups. These findings indicated that gestational HC might not induce the damage of placental function seriously.
A discordant twin gestation, in which one fetus is significantly growth restricted, compared to the other normal twin, is a unique model that can be used to elucidate the mechanism(s) by which the intrauterine environment affects fetal growth. In many model systems, placental transcription factor genes regulate fetal growth. Transcription factors regulate growth through their activation or repression of downstream target genes that mediate important cell functions. The objective of this study was to determine the expression of the placental HLX homeobox gene transcription factor and its downstream target genes in dizygotic twins with growth discordance. In this cross-sectional study, HLX and its downstream target genes’ retinoblastoma 1 (RB1) and cyclin kinase D (CDKN1C) expression levels were determined in placentae obtained from dichorionic diamniotic twin pregnancies (n = 23) where one of the twins was growth restricted. Fetal growth restriction (FGR) was defined as small for gestational age with abnormal umbilical artery Doppler indices when compared with the normal control co-twin. Homeobox gene HLX expression was significantly decreased at both the mRNA and protein levels in FGR twin placentae compared with the normal control co-twin placentae (p < .05). Downstream target genes CDKN1C and RB1 were also significantly decreased and increased, respectively, at both the mRNA and protein levels in FGR twin placentae compared with normal control co-twin placentae (p < .05). Together, these observations suggest an important association between HLX transcription factor expression and abnormal human placental development in discordant twin pregnancies.
Macrosomia, not only is closely associated with short-term, birth-related problems, but also has long-term consequences for the offspring. We investigated the expression of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in the placenta of macrosomia births using a microarray profile. The data showed that 2929 lncRNAs and 4574 mRNAs were upregulated in the placenta of macrosomia births compared with the normal birth weight group (fold change ⩾2.0, P<0.05), and 2127 lncRNAs and 2511 mRNAs were downregulated (fold change ⩾2.0, P<0.05). To detect the function of the differentially expressed lncRNAs and their possible relationship with the differentially expressed mRNAs, we also performed gene ontology analysis and pathway analysis. The results demonstrated that the PI3K-AKT signalling pathway, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathway, the focal adhesion pathway, the B cell receptor signalling pathway, and the protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum and lysosome pathway were significantly differentially expressed in the macrosomia placenta. Four lncRNAs were randomly chosen from the differentially expressed lncRNAs to validate the microarray data by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The qPCR results were consistent with the microarray data. In conclusion, lncRNAs were significantly differentially expressed in the placenta of macrosomia patients, and may contribute to the pathogenesis of macrosomia.
A targeted quantitative metabolomics approach was used to study temporal changes of serum metabolites in cows that normally released their fetal membranes and those that retained the placenta. We identified and measured serum concentrations of 128 metabolites including amino acids, acylcarnitines, biogenic amines, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids and hexose at −8 and −4 weeks before parturition, during the week of retained placenta (RP) diagnosis, and at +4 and +8 weeks after parturition. In addition, we aimed at identifying metabolite signatures of pre-RP in the serum that might be used as predictive biomarkers for risk of developing RP in dairy cows. Results revealed major alterations in the metabolite fingerprints of pre-RP cows starting as early as −8 weeks before parturition and continuing as far as +8 weeks after calving. Biomarker candidates found in this study are mainly biomarkers of inflammation which might not be specific to RP. Therefore, the relevance of serum Lys, Orn, acetylornithine, lysophophatidylcholine LysoPC a C28:0, Asp, Leu and Ile as potential serum biomarkers for prediction of risk of RP in dairy cows will have to be tested in the future. In addition, lower concentrations of LysoPCs, Trp, and higher kynurenine in the serum during prepartum and the week of occurrence of RP suggest involvement of inflammation in the pathobiology of RP.
CDKN1C and KCNQ1OT1 are imprinted genes that might be potential regulators of placental development. This study investigated placental expressions of CDKN1C and KCNQ1OT1 in monozygotic twins with and without selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR). Seventeen sIUGR and fifteen normal monozygotic(MZ) twin pairs were examined. Placental mRNA expressions of CDKN1C and KCNQ1OT1 were detected by real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR. CDKN1C protein expression was detected by immunohistochemical assay and Western-blotting. In the sIUGR group, smaller fetuses had a smaller share of the placenta, and CDKN1C protein expression was significantly increased while KCNQ1OT1 mRNA expression was significantly decreased. The CDKN1C/KCNQ1OT1 mRNA ratio was lower in the larger fetus than in the smaller fetus (p < .05). In the control group, CDKN1C protein expression showed no difference between larger and smaller fetuses, while KCNQ1OT1 mRNA expression was significantly lower in the larger fetus, and the CDKN1C/KCNQ1OT1 mRNA ratio was higher in the larger fetus than in the smaller fetus (p < .05). Our findings showed that pathogenesis of sIUGR may be related to the co-effect of the up-regulated protein expression of CDKN1C and down-regulated mRNA expression of KCNQ1OT1 in the placenta.
DNA methylation is an important form of epigenetic regulation in mammalian development. Methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 1 (MBD1) and methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 2 (MeCP2) are two members of the MBD subfamily of proteins that bind methylated CpG to maintain the silencing effect of DNA methylation. Given their important roles in linking DNA methylation with gene silencing, this study characterized the coordinated mRNA expression and protein localization of MBD1 and MeCP2 in embryos and placentas and aimed to analysis the effects of MBD1 and MeCP2 on transgenic cloned goats. Our result showed that MBD1 expression of transgenic cloned embryo increased significantly at the 2–4-cell and 8–16-cell stages (P < 0.05), then decreased at the morula and blastocyst stages (P < 0.05); MeCP2 expression in transgenic cloned embryo was significant decreased at the 2–4-cell stage and increased at the 8–16-cell stage (P < 0.05). Placenta morphology analysis showed that the cotyledon number of deceased transgenic cloned group (DTCG) was significantly lower than that the normal goats (NG) and in the live transgenic cloned goats (LTCG) (P < 0.05). MBD1 and MeCP2 were clearly detectable in the placental trophoblastic binucleate cells by immunohistochemical staining. Moreover, MBD1 and MeCP2 expression in DTCG was significant higher than in the NG and the LTCG (P < 0.05). In summary, aberrant expression of methylation CpG binding proteins MBD1 and MeCP2 was detected in embryonic and placental development, which reflected abnormal transcription regulation and DNA methylation involved in MBD1 and MeCP2. These findings have implications in understanding the low efficiency of transgenic cloning.
Fetal growth discordance is a relatively common complication of monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twin pregnancies and is caused by a combination of maternal and placental factors. The aim of the study was to survey placental gene expression patterns and identify genes associated with growth discordance. Clinical samples comprised eight growth-discordant MCDA twin placentas (31+3–34+4 weeks gestational age) and six growth-concordant twin placentas (31+2–37 weeks gestational age). Gene expression libraries were constructed from placental biopsy samples and analyzed by RNA-sequencing. The distribution and relative abundance of mRNA transcripts expressed in the smaller and larger placentas from growth-discordant and concordant MCDA twins was remarkably similar. However, leptin (LEP) and age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 (ARMS2) mRNA levels were exclusively up-regulated in all of the eight smaller growth-discordant twin placentas. Quantitative real-time PCR of independent biopsy samples confirmed the levels of differential mRNA expression for both genes. Immunohistochemical analysis of tissue sections from matching twin placentas showed increased leptin expression in 5–10% of blood vessel cells of the smaller placenta and marginally higher levels of ARMS2 expression in the microvillous membrane of the smaller placenta. Based on these findings, we speculate that up-regulation of leptin and ARMS2 forms part of an important survival mechanism to compensate for placental growth discordance. Since, leptin and ARMS2 are both expressed as soluble proteins, they may have clinical potential as measurable biomarkers for predicting the onset of growth discordance in MCDA twin pregnancies.
Rapid weight gain in infancy and low levels of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) at birth are associated with increased adiposity later in life. The association between placental LCPUFA delivery and weight gain in infancy is poorly understood. We sought to determine the relationships between maternal phenotype, placental fatty acid transporter expression and offspring growth patterns over the first 6 months. Placental tissue and cord blood were collected at term delivery from women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Offspring body composition measurements were recorded 1 day and 6 months after birth. Body mass index (BMI) z-scores were determined using World Health Organization 2006 reference data. Body phenotype patterns were compared among offspring who had an increase in BMI z-score and those who had a decrease. High skinfold thickness at birth and positive change in BMI z-scores during infancy were associated with low neonatal n-3 LCPUFA plasma levels (r=−0.46, P=0.046) and high saturated fatty acids levels (r=0.49, P=0.034). Growth of skinfolds over 6 months of age was associated with placental fatty acid transporter gene expression. Change in BMI z-score in the first 6 months of life correlated with arm muscle area growth, a measure of lean mass (r=0.62, P=0.003), but not with growth in skinfold thickness. Early infancy weight gain was associated with poor plasma LCPUFA status at birth, and fat deposition in infancy was related to changes in placental lipid handling. Thus, neonatal fatty acid profiles may influence the trajectory of infant growth and fat and lean mass deposition.
Traditionally, it is understood that dizygotic (DZ) twins always have a dichorionic placenta. However, with 8% blood chimerism in DZ twins, placental sharing is probably more common than previously has been recognized. In this article, we will review all available cases of monochorionic dizygotic (MCDZ) twins. A total of 31 twins have been described in literature. A monochorionic diamniotic placenta is reported in all cases. Assisted reproductive technology is responsible for the origin of the pregnancy in 82.1% of the cases. In 15.4% of the sex-discordant twins, a genital anomaly was reported in one of the twins. Chimerism is demonstrable in 90.3% of the twins, leading to various diagnostic difficulties. As this review shows that most MCDZ twins are discovered by accident, it can be argued that it is far more common than has been assumed until now. However, the prevalence is still unclear. Awareness of MCDZ twinning is important, with subsequently correct medical strategies. Similarly, the resulting (blood) chimerism is essential to consider in diagnostic procedures, pre- and postnatally. More research on the effect of placental transfusion between sex-discordant twins is required.
Maternal physiologic stress during gestation has been reported to be associated with negative developmental outcomes, including intra-uterine growth restriction and reduced birth weight, which can impact postnatal development, behavior and health. The human fetus is partially protected from elevated cortisol exposure by placental 11 β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11β-HSD2), which oxidizes bioactive cortisol into bio-inactive cortisone. Importantly, despite the critical protective role hypothesized for 11β-HSD2, the onset of its placental expression has yet to be clearly established. To this aim, we present immunocytochemical analysis of placentas collected 3–6 weeks post-conception. 11β-HSD2 was present as early as 3 weeks post-conception in syncytiotrophoblasts, where most maternal–fetal exchange occurs, and in columnar epithelial cells encircling uterine endometrial glands, which provide early histiopathic nutrition to the embryo. 11β-HSD2 expression in these critical maternal–fetal exchange areas is consistent with its hypothesized protective role. Future studies should investigate the mechanisms that may modulate embryonic glucocorticoid exposure earlier, immediately post-conception.
The aim of this study was to determine the effects of intrauterine environment on the magnitude of intrapair differences in six somatic traits of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins (1,263 pairs; 424 MZ twins and 839 DZ twins). Differences in intrauterine environments of MZ twins enforced division of the research material into four groups: (1) MZ-MC-TTTS — MZ twins from monochorionic (MC) pregnancies with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), (2) MZ-MC (without TTTS)—MZ twins from MC pregnancies without TTTS, (3) MZ-DC—MZ twins from dichorionic (DC) pregnancies, and (4) DZ—DZ twins. The intrapair differences in all analyzed somatic traits, especially body weight and circumference of the chest, were the largest in the case of MZ twins from MC pregnancies with TTTS. DZ twins were the group presenting with the second largest intrapair differences in the analyzed traits. At the end of pregnancy, that is, in lunar months 9 and 10, the magnitude of intrapair differences in all traits of twins from this group was significantly greater than in MZ twins from both MC and DC pregnancies. Irrespective of the analyzed period, the least evident, statistically insignificant intrapair differences in the studied traits were documented in the case of MZ twins from MC pregnancies without TTTS and twins from DC pregnancies. These findings imply that the differentiating effect of intrauterine environment is associated with the occurrence of TTTS, rather than with chorionicity, as postulated previously.
Twin gestation is known to be a risk factor for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. However, the relationship between hypertensive disorders (pre-eclampsia (PE) and gestational hypertension (GH)) and chorionicity of twin pregnancy is unclear, and published data is conflicting. We decided to analyze the relationship between placentation and prevalence of hypertensive disorders. It was a retrospective cohort study. 312 twin pregnancies delivered between 2009 and 2014 were analyzed, 79 of which were monochorionic and 233 dichorionic. The occurrence of PE and GH was established according to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) guidelines. Hypertensive disorders were diagnosed significantly more often in dichorionic than in monochorionic twin pregnancies (19.7% vs. 8.9%; OR = 2.53 95% CI 1.04–6.45; p = .03). PE occurred more frequently in DCP (13.3% vs. 3.8%; OR = 3.88 95% CI 1.09–16.46; p = .02). There were no differences between those two groups in the prevalence of GH (6.4% vs. 5.1%; p = .79). The logistic regression model for the occurrence of PE included chorionicity, mother's age lower than 18 or higher than 40, pre-gestational obesity, in vitro fertilization, primiparity, gestational age at delivery, gestational diabetes, and active smoking. It showed that dichorionicity remained an independent risk factor for PE (adjusted OR = 4.97.0 95% CI 1.06–23.38; p = .04). Dichorionicity seems to be a risk factor for PE but not for GH development.
Hypoxia is the primary stimulus for the production of erythropoietin (EPO) in both fetal and adult life. Here, we investigated fetal plasma EPO concentrations in monochorionic (MC) twin pregnancies with selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) and abnormal umbilical artery (UA) Doppler. We diagnosed sIUGR in presence of (1) birth-weight discordance >20% and (2) either twin with a birth weight <10th percentile. An abnormal UA Doppler was defined as a persistent absent-reverse end diastolic flow (AREDF). The intertwin EPO ratio was calculated as the plasma EPO level of the smaller (or small-for-gestational-age) twin divided by the EPO concentration of the larger (or appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA)) twin. Thirty-two MC twin pairs were included. Of these, 17 pairs were normal twins (Group 1), seven pairs were twins with sIUGR without UA Doppler abnormalities (Group 2), and eight pairs were twins with sIUGR and UA Doppler abnormalities (Group 3). The highest EPO ratio was identified in Group 3 (p < .001) but no significant differences were observed between Groups 1 and 2. Fetal hemoglobin levels did not differ significantly in the three groups, and fetal EPO concentration did not correlate with gestational age at birth. We conclude that fetal plasma EPO concentrations are selectively increased in MC twin pregnancies with sIUGR and abnormal UA Doppler, possibly as a result of uncompensated hypoxia.