The human GH/CSH cluster consisting of one pituitary-expressed (GH1) and four placenta-expressed loci has been implicated in maternal metabolic adaptation to pregnancy, regulation of intrauterine and postnatal growth. We investigated how the mRNA expression profile of placental GH2, CSH1 and CSH2 genes and their alternative transcripts correlates with maternal pre-eclampsia (PE) and/or gestational diabetes mellitus (GD). The expression of studied genes in PE placentas (n=17) compared to controls (n=17) exhibited a trend for reduced transcript levels. The alternative transcripts retaining intron 4, GH2-2 and CSH1-2 showed significantly reduced expression in PE cases without growth restriction (P=0.007, P=0.008, respectively). In maternal GD (n=23), a tendency of differential expression was detected only for the GH2 gene and in pregnancies with large-for-gestational-age newborns. Our results, together with those reported by others, are consistent with a pleiotropic effect of placental hGH/CSH genes at the maternal-fetal interface relating to the regulation of fetal growth and the risk of affected maternal metabolism.
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