Placental autophagy failure: A risk factor for preeclampsia

Akitoshi Nakashima, Tomoko Shima, Aiko Aoki, Mihoko Kawaguchi, Ippei Yasuda, Sayaka Tsuda, Satoshi Yoneda, Akemi Yamaki-Ushijima, Shibin Cheng, Surendra Sharma, Shigeru Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, directly affect maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. As the pathophysiology of preeclampsia is multi-factorial and has been studied using different approaches, we have demonstrated that impaired autophagy is an intertwined risk factor for preeclampsia. This concept has been verified in both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Autophagy is primarily involved in maintaining cellular homeostasis, and in immune regulation, longevity, cytokines secretion and a variety of other biological functions. Here, we review the role of autophagy in normal embryogenesis and placentation. Once placental autophagy is impaired by metabolic stress such as hypoxia, endoplasmic reticulum stress or starvation, placental development could be disrupted, resulting in functional maladaptations at the maternal-fetal interface. These malfunctions may result in fetal growth restriction or preeclampsia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2497-2504
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • ER stress
  • TFEB
  • autophagy
  • hypoxia
  • preeclampsia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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