Expression of Insulin-Like Growth Factors by the Human Placenta
The placenta is an extraembryonic structure that participates in the protection and maintenance of the developing conceptus. To function in this capacity, the placenta exhibits the characteristics of many adult mammalian tissue and organ level regulatory systems. It is, therefore, not surprising that the placenta has been shown to produce effector molecules either identical or similar to those expressed by adult neural, endocrine, and immunologic cells. Furthermore, receptor molecules capable of binding and allowing cells to respond to various effector molecules (including many of those produced by the placenta) have been demonstrated to be present in placental membranes. Thus, local hormonal networks may be postulated to exist within the placenta that can regulate its various functions and its own growth and development. One such autocrine/paracrine network that has been postulated for the human placenta is the insulin-like growth factor-I and -II (IGF-I and -II) system. As we have concentrated much of our research effort in recent years on examining the expression of the IGF-I and -II genes in the human placenta, this review will provide a brief recapitulation of that work presented in conjunction with the results of others working on this placental local hormonal system.
KeywordsHuman Placenta Placental Lactogen Placental Membrane Placental Explants Syncytiotrophoblastic Layer
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