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Current Understanding of Autophagy in Pregnancy

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toyama, Toyama 930-0194, Japan
2
Departments of Pediatrics, Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI 02905, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(9), 2342; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092342
Received: 12 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Preeclampsia)
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Abstract

Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process in eukaryotes to maintain cellular homeostasis under environmental stress. Intracellular control is exerted to produce energy or maintain intracellular protein quality controls. Autophagy plays an important role in embryogenesis, implantation, and maintenance of pregnancy. This role includes supporting extravillous trophoblasts (EVTs) that invade the decidua (endometrium) until the first third of uterine myometrium and migrate along the lumina of spiral arterioles under hypoxic and low-nutrient conditions in early pregnancy. In addition, autophagy inhibition has been linked to poor placentation—a feature of preeclamptic placentas—in a placenta-specific autophagy knockout mouse model. Studies of autophagy in human placentas have revealed controversial results, especially with regard to preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Without precise estimation of autophagy flux, wrong interpretation would lead to fixed tissues. This paper presents a review of the role of autophagy in pregnancy and elaborates on the interpretation of autophagy in human placental tissues. View Full-Text
Keywords: Atg7; autophagy; lysosomes; placenta; preeclampsia; protein aggregation; p62/SQSTM1 Atg7; autophagy; lysosomes; placenta; preeclampsia; protein aggregation; p62/SQSTM1
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Nakashima, A.; Tsuda, S.; Kusabiraki, T.; Aoki, A.; Ushijima, A.; Shima, T.; Cheng, S.-B.; Sharma, S.; Saito, S. Current Understanding of Autophagy in Pregnancy. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 2342.

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