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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 482875, 6 pages
Research Article

Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Apoptosis and Proliferation in the Placenta: Preliminary Report

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Lublin, Jaczewskiego 8 Street, 20-954 Lublin, Poland

Received 19 September 2014; Accepted 8 December 2014

Academic Editor: Yong Q. Chen

Copyright © 2015 Ewa Wietrak et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Observational studies confirm a higher incidence of preeclampsia in patients with low erythrocyte concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. Observations point to an association of disorders of pregnancy, such as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and preeclampsia, with excessive apoptosis. One potential mechanism of action of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) promoting a reduction in the risk of pathological pregnancy may be by influencing these processes in the placenta. Materials and Methods. We investigated 28 pregnant women supplemented with a fish oil product containing 300 mg DHA starting from pregnancy week 20 until delivery (DHA group). The control group consisted of 50 women who did not receive such supplementation (control group). We determined the expression of Ki-67 and p21 as markers of proliferation and caspase 3 activity as a marker of apoptosis and DHA levels in umbilical cord blood. Results. Caspase 3 activity was significantly lower in the DHA group in comparison to the control group. Umbilical cord blood DHA concentration was higher in the DHA group. The expression of the proteins p21 and Ki-67 did not differ significantly between the groups. Conclusions. We observed an association between DHA supplementation and inhibition of placental apoptosis. We did not find an association between DHA and proliferation process in the placenta.