Background/Aim: Recent data suggest that hsp27, a low-molecular-weight heat shock protein, exerts important cellular actions, including the modulation of oestrogen action. We investigated whether hsp27 was differentially expressed in placental samples from small for gestational age (SGA) neonates. Methods: This study was performed in an academic hospital. Samples of villous tissue were obtained from placentae of 31 SGA (n = 16) or adequate to gestational age neonates (n = 15) delivered vaginally. The histological distribution of hsp27 in placental villi was investigated by immunohistochemistry, and the concentration of the protein was quantified by ELISA. Differences between groups were assessed by the nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test. Results: Specific staining for hsp27 was detected in trophoblastic cells in most of the villi. The levels of hsp27 were lower in placentae from SGA neonates than from adequate to gestational age neonates. Conclusion: The expression of hsp27 was reduced in placentae from SGA neonates. Further work is required in order to clarify the role of hsp27 in placental physiology.

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