OBJECTIVE: System A amino acid transporter activity is reduced in placentas from small-for-gestational-age (SGA) compared to normal pregnancies. We compared the expression of the system A transporters between preeclamptic and control and between small-for-gestational-age and controls pregnancies. METHODS: We used placental samples from 18 preeclamptic pregnancies matched with 17 normal pregnancies and from 16 SGA pregnancies matched with 15 different normal pregnancies. Using real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) we quantified the mRNA for two system A subtype target genes ATA1 and ATA2 as well as beta-actin for normalization. RESULTS: There was no significant difference of mRNA for ATA1 or ATA2 transporters between preeclamptic and their controls or SGA pregnancies and their controls. CONCLUSIONS: Despite previous studies reporting reduced activity for system A transporters in small-for-gestational-age pregnancies, we found no difference in steady-state concentrations of the mRNA, of the system A transporters among preeclamptic, SGA, and normal control pregnancies. These results do not exclude differences in actual protein levels or activity of the amino acid transporters, which warrant further study.
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