PROBLEM: To determine if feto-placental tissues from gestations complicated by pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) have altered expression of Fas-associated proteins.
METHOD OF STUDY: The expression of several Fas-related proteins was determined in fetal membranes, decidua, and placentas obtained from PIH-affected (n=12, age range 32–36 weeks) and normal (n=6, age range 37–41 weeks) gestations. Paraffin-embedded tissue sections were stained with specific monoclonal antibodies to Fas, Fas ligand (FasL), caspase-3, and bax.
RESULTS: We observed greater expression of Fas and FasL in amnion and decidua from PIH-affected gestations than in normal controls. Intense staining was observed only in the perivascular endothelium (caspase-3) and in decidual cells (bax) from PIH gestations.
CONCLUSION: Differential expression of Fas-related proteins in fetal membranes, decidua, and placentas from PIH-affected gestations is consistent with increased apoptosis, and suggests activation of the Fas/FasL pathway in a tissue-specific manner.