The hypothesis is that a symbiotic relationship exists between the placenta and the fetal brain. A healthy placenta leads to healthy brain development in the fetus. Studies are warranted to find the correlation between the placenta and the fetal brain and the various clinical biomarkers and circulating factors aiding this process and the hypoxia-ischemia pathway
In humans, studies that consider the placenta as a mediator of the maternal environment (e.g., biomarkers, exercise) on pregnancy outcomes and in diverse populations are lacking.
One such topic concerns the etiology of autism and autism spectrum disorders, for which the placenta may be involved. Recent research has identified an increased incidence of trophoblast inclusions in the placenta of children that have developed ASD. This lesion also may be associated with, or indicative of altered zinc nutriture, as zinc deficiencies also have been observed in children that develop ASD
Understanding the influence of the placenta and placenta-derived circulating factors on maternal health, including its impact on infectious disease.