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Pattern of expression of cyclin D1/CDK4 complex in human placenta during gestation

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Progression through the cell cycle in eukaryotic cells is controlled by a family of protein kinases, termed cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), and their specific partners, the cyclins. In particular, the control of mammalian cell proliferation occurs largely during the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Five mammalian G1 cyclins have been enumerated to date: cyclins D1, D2, and D3 (D-type cyclins), and cyclins E and E2. By the use of immunohistochemistry and immunoelectron microscopy, we observed that in the first trimester of gestation of human placenta, cyclin D1 was distributed in the nuclei of the cytotrophoblast compartment together with a weak positivity of endothelial cells surrounding blood vessels. The endothelial positivity of cyclin D1 strongly increased in the third trimester of gestation. Moreover, we observed the subcellular localization of cyclin D1 that was present both in the stroma of placental villi and in the nuclei of syncytiotrophoblast cells. Therefore, we observed that CDK4 was localized in the nuclei of the cytotrophoblast compartment during the first and third trimesters and it also had a nuclear positivity in the endothelial cells of blood vessels at the end of the third trimester of gestation. In conclusion we may hypothesize that cyclin D1/CDK4 complex functions to regulate the cell cycle progression in the proliferative compartment of human placenta, the cytotrophoblast, during the first trimester through interaction with p107 and p130. Therefore, cyclin D1 and CDK4 seem to be involved in the control of placental angiogenesis during the third trimester of gestation.

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We thank Mr. Giuseppe Falcone for his contribution to the preparation of the images, and Misses Angela Raucci and Nektaria Ndaoula for their contribution to the experimental design.

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Correspondence to A. De Luca.

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This work was supported by the University of Naples “Federico II” (M.D.F., V.F. and V.L.), by the Second University of Naples (L.C. and A.D.L.) and I.S.S.C.O. (President H.E. Kaiser)

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De Falco, M., Fedele, V., Cobellis, L. et al. Pattern of expression of cyclin D1/CDK4 complex in human placenta during gestation. Cell Tissue Res 317, 187–194 (2004).

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