Single cell transcriptional signatures of the human placenta in term and preterm parturition

Pique-Regi R, Romero R, Tarca AL, Sendler ED, Xu Y, Garcia-Flores V, Leng Y, Luca F, Hassan SS, Gomez-Lopez N.
Elife. 2019 Dec 12;8. pii: e52004. doi: 10.7554/eLife.52004.
PMID: 31829938

More than 135 million births occur each year; yet, the molecular underpinnings of human parturition in gestational tissues, and in particular the placenta, are still poorly understood. The placenta is a complex heterogeneous organ including cells of both maternal and fetal origin, and insults that disrupt the maternal-fetal dialogue could result in adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth. Yet, limited knowledge of the cell type composition and transcriptional activity of the placenta and its compartments during physiologic and pathologic parturition were available. Therefore, PRB researchers utilized scRNA-seq to profile the placental villous tree, basal plate, and chorioamniotic membranes of women with or without labor at term and those with preterm labor.  Herein, the team provides a catalogue of cell types and transcriptional profiles in the human placenta, shedding light on the molecular underpinnings and non-invasive prediction of the physiologic and pathologic parturition.


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