Human placental metabolism and 'omics'


Maternal exposure to chemicals and drugs during pregnancy will affect the well-being of the mother and newborn child, putatively over generations, by causing modifications at RNA, DNA (genetics /epigenetics) and protein level which may contribute to the developmental origin of diseases. In the present project we’ll study how the above mentioned stress factors affect placental hormonal production (potential for endocrine disruption) and xenobiotics metabolizing characteristics at different stages of pregnancy. Methods used are primary and secondary cell cultures, placental enzymatic determinations in vitro, gene expression profiling studies, epigenetics and proteomics.

Group leader, Jaana Rysä, Assoc. Prof.
Markku Pasanen, Prof.
Pasi Huuskonen, FT
University of Eastern Finland,
School of Pharmacy, PO Box 1627,
70211 Kuopio, Finland
email: jaana.rysa(at)


  • Huuskonen P, Amezaga MR, Bellingham M, Jones LH, Storvik M, Häkkinen M, Keski-Nisula L, Heinonen S, O'Shaughnessy PJ, Fowler PA, Pasanen M. The human placental proteome is affected by maternal smoking. Reprod Toxicol. 63:22-31, 2016.
  • Hukkanen J, Hakkola J, Rysä J. Pregnane X receptor (PXR) – a contributor to the diabetes epidemic? Review. Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions 29:3-15, 2014.
  • Storvik M, Huuskonen P, Pehkonen P, Pasanen M: The unique characteristics of the transcription of hormonal metabolism enzymes in placenta. Reproductive toxicology, 47:9-14 2014.
  • Rysä J, Buler M, Savolainen MJ, Ruskoaho H, Hakkola J, Hukkanen J. Pregnane X receptor agonists impair postprandial glucose tolerance. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 93:556-63, 2013.
  • Huuskonen P, Myllynen P, Storvik M, Pasanen M. The effects of aflatoxin B1 on transporters and steroid metabolising enzymes in JEG-3 cells. Toxicol Lett, 218: 200– 206, 2013.
  • Storvik M, Huuskonen P, Kyllönen T, Lehtonen S, El-NEzami H, Auriola S, Pasanen M: Aflatoxin B1 as an endocrine disrupter up-regulates CYP19A1 in human trophoblastic Jeg-3 cells. Toxicol Letters, 202 161–167, 2011.
  • Obolenskaya M Yu, Teplyuk NN, Sasanova L Ya, Malko MV, Divi RL, Poirier, MC, M Pasanen: Placental glutathione S-transferase activity and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon DNA adducts in radioactively and chemically-exposed pregnancies. Toxicology Letters 196: 80-86, 2010.
  • Huuskonen P, Storvik M, Reinisalo M, Honkakoski P, Rysä J, Hakkola J, Pasanen M: Microarray analysis of the global alterations in the gene expression in the placentas from tobacco-smoking mothers. Clinical Pharmacol Ther, 83:542-550, 2008.