Four pregnant women sitting in chairs
Epigenetic Changes to Placenta Correlate with Maternal Depression
An epigenome-wide association study found more than a dozen methylation changes in placental DNA that correlated with expectant mothers’ self-reports of depression and stress during their pregnancy.
ABOVE: MODIFIED FROM © ISTOCK.COM, Vladimir Kononok
Epigenetic Changes to Placenta Correlate with Maternal Depression
Epigenetic Changes to Placenta Correlate with Maternal Depression

An epigenome-wide association study found more than a dozen methylation changes in placental DNA that correlated with expectant mothers’ self-reports of depression and stress during their pregnancy.

An epigenome-wide association study found more than a dozen methylation changes in placental DNA that correlated with expectant mothers’ self-reports of depression and stress during their pregnancy.

ABOVE: MODIFIED FROM © ISTOCK.COM, Vladimir Kononok

placenta

A watercolor of a baby in a heart-shaped womb
Sex of Fetus Affects Immune Response to COVID-19 During Pregnancy
Amanda Heidt | Oct 20, 2021
Male placentas produce more proinflammatory molecules than female placentas, while people carrying male fetuses produce fewer antibodies in response to infection, a study finds.
A scanning electron micrograph of a fetal gut, pseudocolored in yellow and blue
Microbes in Human Fetuses Spur Immune Development
Abby Olena | Jun 3, 2021
Researchers identify live bacteria in fetal guts, skin, lungs, and placentas that activate memory T cells, indicating that early exposure to microbes could help educate the developing immune system.
baby
Maternal smoking during pregnancy alters placental function and fetal growth
Roni Dengler, PhD | Feb 3, 2022
Smoking during pregnancy changes marks on placental DNA, altering its responses to environmental stressors.
A pregnant figure is shaded in blue and outlined in blue, pink, and purple
Blood Biomarkers Predict the Onset of Labor: Study
Abby Olena | May 6, 2021
Researchers integrated information from 45 protein, metabolite, and immune data points to identify a window two to four weeks before a pregnant person will go into labor.
pregnant covid-19 coronavirus sars-cov-2 pandemic antibodies vaccine pregnancy newborn fetus cord blood igg
COVID-19 Vaccines for Pregnant Moms May Protect Newborns
Catherine Shaffer | Feb 17, 2021
A case study finds SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in placental cord blood after maternal vaccination.
New RNA-Based Tool Could Assess Preeclampsia Risk
Amanda Heidt | Sep 1, 2020
Transcripts circulating in the blood provide real-time information about maternal, fetal, and placental health.
A Trick that Helps Horses and Cattle Avoid Metastatic Cancer
Shawna Williams | Apr 1, 2020
Researchers find connective tissue has a crucial role to play in whether cancer cells metastasize.
Circulating Fetal Cells Sequenced for Prenatal Testing Study
Emily Makowski | Dec 10, 2019
Trophoblasts, collected from the mother during a blood draw, can determine fetal genetic abnormalities currently diagnosed through amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling.
Placental Microbiome’s Existence Challenged
Abby Olena | Jul 31, 2019
The authors of a new study find no evidence for bacteria in the placenta, but others in the field question their interpretation of the data.
Kurt Benirschke holding a box of frozen vials
Conservation Biologist and Placenta Expert Kurt Benirschke Dies
Shawna Williams | Sep 14, 2018
He established the San Diego Zoo’s cryopreserved Frozen Zoo.
Placental Health Influences Baby’s Future Schizophrenia Risk, Study Suggests
Shawna Williams | May 29, 2018
Complications during pregnancy may act via the placenta to magnify the effects of genetic risk factors.
Anti-Preeclampsia Hormone Discovered
Ruth Williams | Jun 29, 2017
A small, placenta-produced peptide fixes the pregnancy-related condition in mice. 
Image of the Day: Placental Array
The Scientist Staff | Apr 25, 2017
Placentas from mice with genetically distinct immune systems, stained to highlight differences in three proteins, representing the nucleus (blue), blood vessels (red), and trophoblasts (green)
Artificial Womb Supports Premature Fetal Lamb Development
Tracy Vence | Apr 25, 2017
The lungs of extremely premature lambs supported in a closed, sterile environment that enables fluid-based gas exchange grow and develop normally, researchers report.
Viral Protein Boosts Muscle Mass in Male Mice
Jef Akst | Sep 14, 2016
An endogenous retrovirus that supports placenta formation in females also helps male mice build muscle, according to a study.
Potential Route for Zika from Mother to Fetus
Catherine Offord | May 31, 2016
Placental macrophages called Hofbauer cells are particularly vulnerable to infection by the virus, a study shows.
One Way Placenta Deflects Zika Infection
Kerry Grens | Apr 5, 2016
Certain immune cells surrounding the organ appear to block viral entry.
Growing Placenta-Generating Cells
Jef Akst | Oct 14, 2015
Researchers derive trophoblast stem cells from mouse fibroblasts, paving the way for cell therapy for placental dysfunction diseases.
Q&A: Placental Ponderings
Christopher Coe | Aug 27, 2015
Biologist Christopher Coe answers readers’ questions about the prescient organ.