This review summarises current knowledge about the specification, commitment and maintenance of the trophoblast lineage in mice and cattle. Results from gene expression studies, in vivo loss-of-function models and in vitro systems using trophoblast and embryonic stem cells have been assimilated into a model seeking to explain trophoblast ontogeny via gene regulatory networks. While trophoblast differentiation is quite distinct between cattle and mice, as would be expected from their different modes of implantation, recent studies have demonstrated that differences arise much earlier during trophoblast development. Reproduction (2012) 143 231-246
Trophoblast stem cells (TSC) are the precursors of the differentiated cells of the placenta. In the mouse, TSC can be derived from outgrowths of either blastocyst polar trophectoderm (TE) or extraembryonic ectoderm (ExE), which originates from polar TE after implantation. The mouse TSC niche appears to be located within the ExE adjacent to the epiblast, on which it depends for essential growth factors, but whether this cellular architecture is the same in other species remains to be determined. Mouse TSC self-renewal can be sustained by culture on mitotically inactivated feeder cells, which provide one or more factors related to the NODAL pathway, and a medium supplemented with FGF4, heparin, and fetal bovine serum. Repression of the gene network that maintains pluripotency and emergence of the transcription factor pathways that specify a trophoblast (TR) fate enables TSC derivation in vitro and placental formation in vivo. Disrupting the pluripotent network of embryonic stem cells (ESC) causes them to default to a TR ground state. Pluripotent cells that have acquired sublethal chromosomal alterations may be sequestered into TR for similar reasons. The transition from ESC to TSC, which appears to be unidirectional, reveals important aspects of initial fate decisions in mice. TSC have yet to be derived from domestic species in which remarkable TR growth precedes embryogenesis. Recent derivation of TSC from blastocysts of the rhesus monkey suggests that isolation of the human equivalents may be possible and will reveal the extent to which mechanisms uncovered by using animal models are true in our own species.
Trophoblast cells play an essential role in the interactions between the fetus and mother. Mouse trophoblast stem (TS) cells have been derived and used as the best model for molecular and functional analysis of mouse trophoblast lineages, but attempts to derive human TS cells have so far been unsuccessful. Here we show that activation of Wingless/Integrated (Wnt) and EGF and inhibition of TGF-β, histone deacetylase (HDAC), and Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) enable long-term culture of human villous cytotrophoblast (CT) cells. The resulting cell lines have the capacity to give rise to the three major trophoblast lineages, which show transcriptomes similar to those of the corresponding primary trophoblast cells. Importantly, equivalent cell lines can be derived from human blastocysts. Our data strongly suggest that the CT- and blastocyst-derived cell lines are human TS cells, which will provide a powerful tool to study human trophoblast development and function. Trophoblast cells are specialized cells in the placenta that mediate the interactions between the fetus and mother. Okae et al. report the derivation of human trophoblast stem cells from blastocysts and early placentas, which will provide a powerful tool to study human placental development and function.
Extravillous trophoblasts (EVTs) migrate into uterine decidua and induce vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) loss through mechanisms thought to involve migration and apoptosis, achieving complete spiral artery remodeling. Long noncoding RNA maternally expressed gene 3 (MEG3) can regulate diverse cellular processes, such as proliferation and migration, and has been discovered highly expressed in human placenta tissues. However, little is known about the role of MEG3 in modulating EVT functions and EVT‐induced VSMC loss. In this study, we first examined the location of MEG3 in human first‐trimester placenta by in situ hybridization. Then, exogenous upregulation of MEG3 in HTR‐8/SVneo cells was performed to investigate the effects of MEG3 on EVT motility and EVT capacity to displace VSMCs. Meanwhile, the molecules mediating EVT‐induced VSMC loss, such as tumor necrosis factor‐α (TNF‐α), Fas ligand (FasL), and tumor necrosis factor‐α‐related apoptosis‐inducing ligand (TRAIL) were detected at transcriptional and translational levels. Finally, VSMCs were cocultured with MEG3‐upregulated HTR‐8/SVneo to explore the role of MEG3 on EVT‐mediated VSMC migration and apoptosis. Results showed that MEG3 was expressed in trophoblasts in placental villi and decidua, and MEG3 enhancement inhibited HTR‐8/SVneo migration and invasion. Meanwhile, the displacement of VSMCs by HTR‐8/SVneo and the expression of TNF‐α, FasL and TRAIL in HTR‐8/SVneo were reduced following MEG3 overexpression in HTR‐8/SVneo. Furthermore, HTR‐8/SVneo with MEG3 upregulation impaired VSMC migration and apoptosis. The PI3K/Akt pathway, which is possibly downstream, was inactivated in MEG3‐upregulated HTR‐8/SVneo. These findings suggest that MEG3 might be a negative regulator of spiral artery remodeling via suppressing EVT invasion and EVT‐mediated VSMC loss. Maternally expressed gene 3 (MEG3) suppressed trophoblast‐mediated vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration and apoptosis, which might be associated with reduced expression of tumor necrosis factor‐α (TNF‐α), Fas ligand (FasL), and tumor necrosis factor‐α‐related apoptosis‐inducing ligand (TRAIL) in trophoblast with MEG3 enhancement.
Background: The trophoblast compartment of the placenta comprises various subpopulations with distinct functions. They interact among each other by secreted signals thus forming autocrine or paracrine regulatory loops. We established a first trimester trophoblast cell line (ACH-3P) by fusion of primary human first trimester trophoblasts (week 12 of gestation) with a human choriocarcinoma cell line (AC1-1). Results: Expression of trophoblast markers (cytokeratin-7, integrins, matrix metalloproteinases), invasion abilities and transcriptome of ACH-3P closely resembled primary trophoblasts. Morphology, cytogenetics and doubling time was similar to the parental AC1-1 cells. The different subpopulations of trophoblasts e. g., villous and extravillous trophoblasts also exist in ACH-3P cells and can be immuno-separated by HLA-G surface expression. HLA-G positive ACH-3P display pseudopodia and a stronger expression of extravillous trophoblast markers. Higher expression of insulin-like growth factor II receptor and human chorionic gonadotropin represents the basis for the known autocrine stimulation of extravillous trophoblasts. Conclusion: We conclude that ACH-3P represent a tool to investigate interaction of syngeneic trophoblast subpopulations. These cells are particularly suited for studies into autocrine and paracrine regulation of various aspects of trophoblast function. As an example a novel effect of TNF-alpha on matrix metalloproteinase 15 in HLA-G positive ACH-3P and explants was found.
Critical roles for DNA methylation in embryonic development are well established, but less is known about its roles during trophoblast development, the extraembryonic lineage that gives rise to the placenta. We dissected the role of DNA methylation in trophoblast development by performing mRNA and DNA methylation profiling of mutants. We find that oocyte-derived methylation plays a major role in regulating trophoblast development but that imprinting of the key placental regulator is only partially responsible for these effects. We have identified several methylation-regulated genes associated with trophoblast differentiation that are involved in cell adhesion and migration, potentially affecting trophoblast invasion. Specifically, trophoblast-specific DNA methylation is linked to the silencing of , a Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 protein that drives loss of cell adhesion in methylation-deficient trophoblast. Our results reveal that maternal DNA methylation controls multiple differentiation-related and physiological processes in trophoblast via both imprinting-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Branco et al. dissect the role of DNA methylation in mouse trophoblast development through genome-wide profiling of methylation-deficient mutants. DNA methylation marks carried over from the oocyte play a major role in trophoblast development and cell adhesion, which is partly dependent on silencing of the Polycomb gene .
Abstract During human pregnancy the semi-allogeneic/allogeneic fetal graft is normally accepted by the mother's immune system. Initially the contact between maternal and fetal cells is restricted to the decidua but during the 2nd trimester it is extended to the entire body. Two contrary requirements influence the extent of invasion of extravillous fetal trophoblast cells (EVT) in the maternal decidua: anchorage of the placenta to ensure fetal nutrition and protection of the uterine wall against over-invasion. To establish the crucial balance between tolerance of the EVT and its limitation, recognition of the semi-allogeneic/allogeneic fetal cell by maternal leukocytes is prerequisite. A key mechanism to limit EVT invasion is induction of EVT apoptosis. Apoptotic bodies are phagocytosed by antigen-presenting cells (APC). Peptides from apoptotic cells are presented by APC cells and induce an antigen-specific tolerance against the foreign antigens on EVT cells. These pathways, including up-regulation of the expression of IDO, IFNγ and CTLA-4 as well as the induction of Tregulatory cells, are general immunological mechanisms which have developed to maintain peripheral tolerance to self-antigens. Together these data suggest that the mother extends her “definition of self” for 9 months on the foreign antigens of the fetus.
Our understanding of how cells communicate has undergone a paradigm shift since the recent recognition of the role of exosomes in intercellular signaling. In this study, we investigated whether oxygen tension alters the exosome release and miRNA profile from extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells, modifying their bioactivity on endothelial cells (EC). Furthermore, we have established the exosomal miRNA profile at early gestation in women who develop pre-eclampsia (PE) and spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB). HTR-8/SVneo cells were used as an EVT model. The effect of oxygen tension (i.e. 8% and 1% oxygen) on exosome release was quantified using nanocrystals (Qdot (R)) coupled to CD63 by fluorescence NTA. A real-time, live-cell imaging system (Incucyte (TM)) was used to establish the effect of exosomes on EC. Plasma samples were obtained at early gestation (< 18 weeks) and classified according to pregnancy outcomes. An Illumina TrueSeq Small RNA kit was used to construct a small RNA library from exosomal RNA obtained from EVT and plasma samples. The number of exosomes was significantly higher in EVT cultured under 1% compared to 8% oxygen. In total, 741 miRNA were identified in exosomes from EVT. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that these miRNA were associated with cell migration and cytokine production. Interestingly, exosomes isolated from EVT cultured at 8% oxygen increased EC migration, whilst exosomes cultured at 1% oxygen decreased EC migration. These changes were inversely proportional to TNF-alpha released from EC. Finally, we have identified a set of unique miRNAs in exosomes from EVT cultured at 1% oxygen and exosomes isolated from the circulation of mothers at early gestation, who later developed PE and SPTB. We suggest that aberrant exosomal signalling by placental cells is a common aetiological factor in pregnancy complications characterised by incomplete SpA remodeling and is therefore a clinically relevant biomarker of pregnancy complications.