Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Thomas Brown (Advisor), Robert Putnam (Committee Member), Christopher Wyatt (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The placenta is a transient organ that develops upon initiation of pregnancy and is essential for fetal development and survival. The rodent placenta consists of three layers with predominantly analogous cell types in the human placenta. The labyrinth layer, which lies closest to the fetus, facilitates nutrient and waste exchange between mother and baby. Abnormalities of the placenta may occur as a result of cellular stress and have been associated with the pregnancy-associated disorders, intrauterine growth restriction and placental insufficiency. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master sensor of cellular stress and changes in AMPK expression or activation could be detrimental to the cells ability to function. To study the role of AMPK in the placenta, we used RNA interference to knock down levels of both AMPK isoforms, AMPKα1 and AMPKα2 in SM10 labyrinthine progenitor cells, and analyzed the effects on important cellular functions, including growth, differentiation, and nutrient transport.

Page Count


Department or Program

Microbiology and Immunology

Year Degree Awarded