Investigation of HoxB3 and growth factors expression in placentas of various gestational ages

Ilze Kreicberga, Anna Junga (Coresponding Author), Māra Pilmane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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An evaluation of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2), fibroblast growth factors receptor 1 (FGFR1) and Hox-positive cells in the human placenta, and their correlation with gestational time at delivery and pregnancy outcomes, may provide not only a better understanding of the role of Hox genes and growth factors in human development, but also may be of clinical importance in reproductive medicine. This study analyzed the immunohistochemical identification of TGFβ, HGF, FGF-2, FGFR1 and HoxB3 in placentas of various gestational ages. We found few (+) TGFβ, moderate (++) FGF-2 and numerous (+++) HGF and FGFR1 positive structures. Occasional (0/+) to numerous (+++) HoxB3-positive structures were detected in different types of placental cells specifically, cytotrophoblasts, syncytiotrophoblast, extravillous trophoblasts, and Höfbauer cells. Correlating the appearance of HoxB3 staining in placentas with neonatal parameters, we found a statistically significant negative correlation with ponderal index (r = −0.323, p = 0.018) and positive correlation with neonate body length (r = 0.541, p = 0.046). The number of HoxB3-positive cells did not correlate with growth factors and gestational age, but with neonatal anthropometrical parameters, indicating the role of HoxB3 not only in placental development, but also in the longitudinal growth of the fetus. TGFβ and FGF-2 did not play a significant role in the development of the placenta beyond 22nd week of pregnancy, while HGF and FGFR1 immunoreactive cells increased with advancing gestation, indicating increasingly evolving maturation (growth, proliferation) of the placenta, especially in the third trimester.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Developmental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Development
  • Fetus
  • Gene
  • Growth
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Intrauterine growth
  • Microscopy
  • Placenta

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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