Inserm, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale
Faculté de pharmacie, Aix Marseille Université

Accueil » Publications » Communications internationales » Premature birth is associated with not fully differentiated contractile (...)

Premature birth is associated with not fully differentiated contractile smooth muscle cells in human umbilical artery.

Roffino S, Lamy E, Foucault-Bertaud A, Risso F, Reboul R, Tellier E, Chareyre C, Dignat-George F, Simeoni U, Charpiot P. Placenta. 2012 Jun ;33(6):511-7. IF 3,7

Abstract

Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) participate to the regulation of peripheral arterial resistance and blood pressure. To assume their function, SMCs differentiate throughout the normal vascular development from a synthetic phenotype towards a fully differentiated contractile phenotype by acquiring a repertoire of proteins involved in contraction. In human fetal muscular arteries and umbilical arteries (UAs), no data are available regarding the differentiation of SMCs during the last trimester of gestation.

The objective of this study was to characterize the phenotype of SMCs during this gestation period in human UAs. We investigated the phenotype of SMCs in human UAs from very preterm (28-31 weeks of gestation), late preterm (32-35 weeks) and term (37-41 weeks) newborns using biochemical and immunohistochemical detection of α-actin, smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, smoothelin, and non-muscle myosin heavy chain. We found that the number of SMCs positive for smoothelin in UAs increased with gestational age. Western blot analysis revealed a higher content of smoothelin in term compared to very preterm UAs.

These results show that SMCs in human UAs gradually acquire a fully differentiated contractile phenotype during the last trimester of gestation and thus that premature birth is associated with not fully differentiated contractile SMCs in human UAs.