Some prenatal pathological processes may be caused by biochemical and morphological alterations in the umbilical cord (UC).EPH-gestosis is the most common pregnancy-associated pathological process. For these reasons the role of collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) of UC in pathobiochemistry of this syndrome seems be important. We studied histology of extracellular matrix components, quantity, solubility and molecular polymorphism of collagen, proportional relationships between various types of collagen, the amounts of GAGS and proportional relationships between them in Wharton’s jelly of control newborns delivered by healthy mothers and those delivered by mothers with EPH-gestosis. We found that Wharton’s jelly is abundant in collagen and GAGS. This collagen is very insoluble and resistant to the action of depolymerizing agents (4% EDTA-Na,, pepsin). Types I, III and V collagens were isolated and quantified. Hyaluronic acid constitutes about 70%, whereas sulphated GAGS constitute about 30% of total GAGS. EPH-gestosis is accompanied by significant increase in sulphated GAGS: hyaluronic acid ratio. The EPHgestosis- associated alterations in Wharton’s jelly correspond to ‘premature ageing’ of this tissue.
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