Review

The endocrine and paracrine role of placental cytokines, growth factors and peptides

Vrachnis Nikolaos1, Grigoriadis Charalampos1, Zygouris Dimitrios1, Vlachadis Nikolaos1, Antonakopoulos Nikolaos1, Iliodromiti Zoe2

12nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,, Medical School, Aretaieio hospital, Athens, Greece
2National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece

Correspondence: Vrachnis Nikolaos, 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School, Aretaieio hospital, 76 Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, GR – 11528, Athens, Greece, E – mail: nvrachnis@hjog.org


Abstract

The human placenta plays a major role in pregnancy as it is the main organ of communication between the mother and the fetus. One of its actions is the secretion of a variety of substances. Cytokines, growth factors and peptides are secreted by the placenta during pregnancy and may act via endocrine, autocrine and paracrine pathways. Cytokines promote trophoblast implantation as well as fetal growth and regulate both nutrient transportation and the immune response of the placenta. Placental growth factors contribute to the growth and differentiation of the trophoblast: they promote cell proliferation, angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis and induce prostaglandin and oxytocin synthesis. Placental peptides enhance CRH production and relaxation of the
placental vascular tone. Additionally, clinically speaking they aid in screening tests for early prenatal diagnosis of fetal chromosomal abnormalities. The purpose of this review study was to investigate the actions of these substances in correlation with their potential involvement in pathophysiological pathways during pregnancy.

Keywords: placenta, cytokines, growth factors, peptides

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