The effect of smoking on early chorionic villous vascularisation

Placenta, 06/15/2012

In conclusion, chorionic villous vascularisation is already altered in first trimester of pregnancy in women who smoked cigarettes before and during pregnancy.

Methods

  • Placentas of smoking (>10 cigarettes/day, n = 13) and non–smoking women (n = 13), scheduled for a legal termination of a viable first trimester pregnancy for social indications, were retrieved
  • Placental tissues of 3–5 mm3 were whole mount CD31 immunofluorescence stained. Images of the CD31 immunofluorescence and contour of the villi were captured using an Optical Projection Tomography scanner.
  • An immersive BARCO virtual reality system was used to create an enlarged interactive 3–dimensional hologram of the reconstructed images.
  • Automatic volume measurements were performed using a flexible and robust segmentation algorithm that is based on a region–growing approach in combination with a neighbourhood variation threshold.

Results

  • The villous volume, vascular volume and vascular density were measured for the total chorionic villous tree as well as for its central and peripheral parts.
  • No differences in maternal age and gestational age were found between non–smoking and smoking women. No differences were found in the total, central and peripheral villous tree volume and vascular volume.
  • The central (13.4% vs. 9.5%, p=0.03) and peripheral (8.4% vs. 6.4%, p=0.02) villous tree vascular densities were increased in the smoking women as compared with the non–smoking women.

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