Placenta is a transient organ ensuring the intrauterine development of the individual. To meet fetal requirements, rapid and continuous cell proliferation enlarges the areas of tissues maintaining maternofetal transport. The cell division in placenta is accompanied with shortening of telomeres leading to cell senescence. Telomerase activity, on the other hand, ensures replication of telomeres and allows the organ to serve till the end of pregnancy. This balanced process may be negatively influenced by unfavorable circumstances. Here, we summarize available data on telomere length as well as telomerase activity in placentas from normal and complicated pregnancies; attention is also paid to the comparison of methods used in relevant studies.
Part of the book: Telomerase and non-Telomerase Mechanisms of Telomere Maintenance