Objective: To apply stereology for the detection of possibly morphological abnormalities in placentas of women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).
Study design: Prospective case-control study of placentas from untreated and UDCA-treated ICP, respectively, and normal pregnancies, examined for morphological differences by systematic random sampling generated by computerized stereology methodology.
Main outcome measures: Volume of placenta, surface area of terminal villi and capillaries, volume fraction of collagen, number of syncytial knots, and chorangiosis.
Results: Surface area of terminal villi and capillaries, and number of syncytial knots were higher in placentas from all ICP, as compared to controls (p < 0.01). A reduction of collagen was found in placentas from UDCA-treated ICP, both in comparison to placentas from untreated ICP and controls (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: ICP affects the placenta morphologically as shown by increased terminal villous and capillary surface area, and number of syncytial knots.
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