Morphologic and molecular changes in the placenta: what we can learn from environmental exposures

This review summarizes what is known from human and rodent studies about the effects of two environmental exposures -- assisted reproductive technologies and endocrine-disrupting chemicals -- on the placenta.

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Volume 106, Issue 4, Pages 930-940


Lisa A. Vrooman, Ph.D., Frances Xin, B.A., Marisa S. Bartolomei, Ph.D.


In mammals, the extraembryonic tissues, which include the placenta, are crucial for embryonic development and growth. Because the placenta is no longer needed for postnatal life, however, it has been relatively understudied as a tissue of interest in biomedical research. Recently, increased efforts have been placed on understanding the placenta and how it may play a key role in human health and disease. In this review, we discuss two very different types of environmental exposures: assisted reproductive technologies and in utero exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. We summarize the current literature on their effects on placental development in both rodent and human, and comment on the potential use of placental biomarkers as predictors of offspring health outcomes.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility┬« is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.