Aberrant effect of genistein on placenta development expressed through alteration in transforming growth factor-β1 and alkaline phosphatase across the maternal serum, the placenta and the amniotic fluid

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Lagos, Nigeria

2 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Lagos, Nigeria



Objective(s): The mechanism via which genistein, the major isoflavone content of soya, adversely influenced placenta and fetal development was evaluated in pregnant laboratory rats.
Materials and Methods: There were control, 2 mg/kg and 4 mg/kg genistein groups of rats with five sub-groups based on gestation termination day. At the end of the experiment, animals were sacrificed by CO2 and cervical dislocation, while plasma and serum were processed and stored. The abdomen was opened and the amniotic fluid was siphoned from the uterine sacs, processed and stored. The embryonic implants were excised, the placenta was separated from the fetus and weighed separately. Placenta homogenate was prepared from the harvested placenta, while the rest were processed for histological studies. Transforming growth factor (TGf-β1) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) were assayed for in all samples. A significant decrease in the placenta and fetal weights, and a significant decrease in serum and placenta homogenate ALP levels were recorded in genistein groups.
Results: There was a reduction in the Trophoblast giant cells population (TGCs). TGCs zone depth, perimeter, and an increase in the placenta and amniotic fluid’s TGf-β1 in all genistein groups at GD-13 towards term, and GD-18 and GD-20, respectively. Maternal plasma TGf-β1 was increased in 2 mg group early in pregnancy while its level significantly decreased in both 2 mg and 4 mg genistein groups at mid-gestation towards GD-19.
Conclusion: Genistein aberrant effect on fetal development was via its adverse effect on TGCs proliferation and TGf-β1 activities in the placenta tissue.


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