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Placenta growth factor is a peptide chain of 221 amino acids coded by PGF gene at 14q24-q31 with three isoforms that once N-glycosylated is expressed by most placental tissues and that may be secreted:
  1. PlGF-1 is found as an antiparallel disulfide-linked homodimer
    • Also expressed by colon and mammary carcinomas
  2. PlGF-2 is found as an antiparallel disulfide-linked homodimer
    • Remains cell attached unless released by heparin
    • Binds NRP1/neuropilin-1 and NRP2/neuropilin-2 in a heparin-dependent manner
    • Specific to early placenta up to 8 weeks
  3. PlGF-3 is found both as homodimer and as monomer

The chain also forms dimers with VEGF. It is involved in angiogenesis and endothelial cell proliferation and migration. It binds to the receptor FLT1/VEGFR-1. and is part of the vascular endothelial growth factor family. Produced by placental trophoblastic tissue. Used as a screening test for Down's syndrome.[1]