Stem Cells Provide Answers to Miscarriage Mechanism


Miscarriage or what is referred by scientists as spontaneous abortion is the end of pregnancy due to natural death of an embryo or fetus before being able to survive. Miscarriage is the pregnancy loss that happens before 20 weeks of gestation, after that time it is called stillbirth.

The cause of miscarriage isn’t usually identified, but several reasons are believed to stand behind it. It is mainly caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg with no role to the mother. Chromosomes are essential to the development of the baby that won’t grow properly if there aren’t enough chromosomes or too many of them.

Miscarriage can also be consequence of some factors related to the mother such as smoking, drugs and alcohol excessive consumption, obesity, problems in immunity systems and reproductive organs, among others.

A group of researchers from Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, India, has published a new research in which they tried to understand miscarriage and its mechanism and how it happens. Researchers believed that studying Stem Cells is likely to provide answers of how miscarriage happens and that will help in evaluating it.

To carry their study which is published in a journal of Advances in Stem Cells, researchers “proposed to isolate multipotent stem cells from human aborted placental tissue and characterized them by using molecular and morphological analysis”.  The placenta is “an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother’s blood supply, fight against internal infection and produce hormones to support pregnancy.”

The reason why researchers  study  placenta is because it “contains several times more stem cells than umbilical cord blood therefore, the  use of placental stem cells can increase the chance for making stem cell from placenta for stem cell therapies in near future” study stated.

Researchers noticed that “there is an abnormal expression of CD 73, CD 100, CD 45, Ki67 and Vimentin in aborted fetal tissue thus indicates some role of these genes in the maintenance of pregnancies.” After analyzing results, researchers noticed that “there is a complete down regulation of CD 73 gene indicating that lack of CD73 expression may be responsible for the spontaneous fetal abortion.”

Scietists stressed that “factors such as insulin, growth factors etc. present in growth media can be useful in elevating the level of CD73 for maintenance of aborted fetus in women with high risk pregnancy which need further investigation.”

As part of the study, researchers investigated different roles in relation to Placental Stem Cells including role of pluripotency and differentiation Markers, role of additional Stem Cell markers, role of Cytokine and Chemokine markers, expression of CD45 and CD100, as well as expression of Cardiomyocytes and Osteocytes Genes.

Researchers found that “there is no effect shown on pluripotent properties of fetal stem cells in aborted placenta.” Also, they noticed that “vimentin is totally down regulated in human aborted placental tissue. Thus this can be used as a marker to evaluate the miscarriage in women who have a history of spontaneous abortion.”

For the roles of Cytokine and Chemokine, scientists ntocied that ‘that there is no change in the overall cytokine and chemokine expression in human aborted fetal placenta as well as hPMSCs line indicating that these factors may not be involved in the process of spontaneous abortion.”

For the role of proteins CD100 and CD45 that are so vital for immune system during pregnancy, researchers showed that “that there is an up regulation of CD45 gene and down regulation of CD100 in both tissue and hPMSCs cell line indicating that these factors may be responsible for spontaneous abortion of fetus in these women.”

Evaluating the expression of the Cardiomyocytes and Osteocytes Genes the study observed “that the abnormal expression of CD 73, CD 100, CD 45, Ki 67and vimentin are involved in fetal abortion in high risk pregnancy, and hPMSCs cell line can be used as an in vitro model system to study the mechanism of fetal abortion as well as for future regenerative therapies.”

Researchers concluded that “hPMSCs” cells can be used as an in vitro model system for the evaluation of the mechanism of spontaneous abortion… due to their multipotent characteristic they can be used for future regenerative therapies for various disorders.”


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