CD15 as a marker of fetoplacental endothelial immaturity in IUGR placentas

Authors : Ravikumar G, Crasta J, Prabhu JS, Thomas T, Dwarkanath P, Thomas A, Kurpad AV, Sridhar TS

Publication Year : 2017

Abstract :


Structural or functional defects in the placenta, are the primary cause of growth restriction of the fetus. Morphological examination of such placentas from intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) fetuses often appears deceptively normal. Evaluation of angiogenesis and fetoplacental vasculature is critical to understand the underlying pathogenesis of fetal growth restriction in both idiopathic as well as cases where it is thought to be secondary to complications like preeclampsia (PE). We analyzed the immaturity of fetoplacental vasculature using CD15, which is a stage specific embryonic antigen known to be expressed in immature endothelium.


One hundred and twelve placentas (81 from IUGR and 31 from gestationally appropriate samples (appropriate for gestational age (AGA)) were collected based on stringent inclusion criteria, and subjected to detailed examination of morphology and microscopy along with immunostaining for CD15. IUGR placentas known to have villous immaturity such as those associated with gestational diabetes, Rh negative pregnancies and anemia were excluded. The time of clinical onset of IUGR, associated complications like PE and oligohydramnios along with clinical variables were recorded. CD15 expression was scored in both distal and proximal vasculature and the values in IUGR and AGA pregnancies were compared and correlated with clinical variables.


The mean CD 15 scores in both proximal vasculature (PV) as well as distal (DV) vasculature were significantly higher in the IUGR group compared to AGA (17.7 versus 5.16 in PV and 50.8 versus 23.7 in distal vasculature (DV)). Gestational age had no influence on CD15 staining in PV or DV in IUGR group, whereas preterm AGAs expressed higher CD15 only in the distal vessels. PE, oligohydramnios and the time of onset of IUGR did not influence the fetal vascular immaturity, as measured by CD15 scores. Although none of the clinical or obstetric factors influenced CD15 staining in AGA, fetal vessel immaturity in the IUGR group remained high even after adjusting for confounding variables like maternal age, gestational age and birth weight. Histological features suggestive of chronic hypoxia were significantly higher in IUGR placentas, compared to AGA and correlated positively with CD15 expression.


Fetoplacental endothelium in both PV and DV is immature in IUGR irrespective of the gestational age or any other associated factors and CD15 immunodetection is a valuable marker for assessment of immaturity.