Background: Reduced telomere length in placental mesenchymal core cells has been reported during pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction. To estimate telomere length, a precise, accurate and reproducible technique must be used. Objective: We evaluated the characteristics of a quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (Q-FISH) technique for measuring relative telomere length in placental mesenchymal core cells. Methods: From late chorionic villus samplings, telomere length in placental mesenchymal core cells was estimated by a Q-FISH technique using peptide nucleic acid telomere probes. The main characteristics of the Q-FISH technique, such as precision and reproducibility, were evaluated. Results: The telomere length of the cultured placental mesenchymal cells did not follow a normal distribution. When the Q-FISH technique was performed on interphase nuclei of uncultured mesenchymal core cells, normal telomere length distribution was observed. The precision of the technique when applied to cultured placental mesenchymal core cells was estimated to be <6%, and its reproducibility ranged from to 92.9 to 104.7%. Conclusion: Our results showed that cell culture of placental villi produced a non-normal telomere length distribution, probably related to telomere DNA replication during the cell cycle. Despite the influence of cell culture, the Q-FISH technique reported herein showed good precision and reproducibility.

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