Presence of Telocytes in a Non-innervated Organ: The Placenta
This chapter discusses the relationship between failure in placentation and the subsequent alterations in the normal structure of the placenta. Interstitial Cajal-like cells (ICLC) were observed for the first time in the human placenta in 2007 and later were named telocytes. Strong evidence confirms that in the placental chorionic villi, TC are located strategically between the smooth muscle cells (SMC) of the fetal blood vessel wall and the stromal myofibroblasts. As the placenta is a non-innervated organ and considering the strategic position of telocytes in chorionic villi, it has been postulated that their function would be related to signal transduction mechanisms involved in the regulation of the blood flow in the fetal vessels, as well as in the shortening/lengthening of the chorionic villi providing the necessary rhythmicity to the process of maternal/fetal metabolic exchange. In this context, telocytes represent part of a functional triad: “SMC of fetal blood vessel-telocyte-myofibroblast.” This triad takes part in the regulation of fetal growth and development via transport of nutrients and gases. This chapter also discusses the alterations in the metabolic maternal–fetal exchange, leading to intrauterine growth retardation and preeclampsia. Additionally, the apoptosis undergoing in the preeclamptic hypoxic placenta affects all the chorionic villi cells, including telocytes and myofibroblast, and not only trophoblast, as it has been so far considered. In consequence, we proposed that apoptosis affects the triad structure and alters the placental function, subsequently affecting the normal fetal growth and development.
KeywordsMyofibroblast Nitrotyrosine residues Placental telocytes Preeclampsia
Interstitial cells of Cajal
Interstitial Cajal-like cells
Intrauterine growth restriction
Reactive oxygen species
Smooth muscle cells
Ultra-large vWB multimers
Vascular endothelial growth factor
This chapter was supported by Grant 1090245 Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Cientifico y Tecnologico (FONDECYT). The authors wish to thank Miss Paulina González Díaz for her kind assistance with language editing.
Conflict of Interest
The authors confirm that this article content has no conflict of interest.
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