Differential localization of superoxide dismutase isoforms in placental villous tissue of normotensive, pre-eclamptic, and intrauterine growth- restricted pregnancies

Leslie Myatt, Annie L.W. Eis, Diane E. Brockman, Wilhelm Kossenjans, Ian A. Greer, Fiona Lyall

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Several isoforms of superoxide dismutase (SOD), including copper/zinc (cytosolic) and manganese (mitochondrial), exist. In the human placenta, SOD may prevent excessive superoxide accumulation, and any potential deleterious oxidative effects. In pre-eclampsia, increased levels of lipid peroxide and decreased SOD activity have been described in the placenta. Oxidative stress such as occurs in pre-eclampsia can alter expression of SOD isoforms. The objective of this study was to localize the copper/zinc and manganese SOD isoforms in the placenta using immunohistochemistry and to compare localization and intensity of immunostaining in tissues from normotensive pregnancies with those from pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia and/or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Western blotting with specific antibodies recognized a 17-kD copper/zinc and a 23-kD manganese SOD subunit in placental homogenates. Intense immunostaining for the manganese SOD isoform was seen in villous vascular endothelium, but only faint staining was found in the syncytiotrophoblast or villous stroma. In serial sections, intense immunostaining for copper/zinc SOD was seen in certain cells of the villous stroma but only faint immunostaining in syncytiotrophoblast and vascular endothelium. No apparent differences in localization or intensity of immunostaining for either isoform were seen between tissues of normotensive or pre-eclamptic pregnancies with or without. IUGR. The different cellular localizations of the SOD isoforms suggest that they fulfill different functional roles within the placenta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1433-1438
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997



  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Placenta
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Pregnancy
  • Superoxide
  • Superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology

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