The excitement and controversy surrounding the potential role of human embryonic stem (ES)(1,2) cells in transplantation therapy have often overshadowed their potentially more important use as a basic research tool for understanding the development and function of human tissues. Human ES cells can proliferate without a known limit and can form advanced derivatives of all three embryonic germ layers. What is less widely appreciated is that human ES cells can also form the extra-embryonic tissues that differentiate from the embryo before gastrulation. The use of human ES cells to derive early human trophoblast is particularly valuable, because it is difficult to obtain from other sources and is significantly different from mouse trophoblast. Here we show that bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily, induces the differentiation of human ES cells to trophoblast. DNA microarray, RT-PCR, and immunoassay analyses demonstrate that the differentiated cells express a range of trophoblast markers and secrete placental hormones. When plated at low density, the BMP4-treated cells form syncytia that express chorionic gonadotrophin (CG). These results underscore fundamental differences between human and mouse ES cells, which differentiate poorly, if at all, to trophoblast(3). Human ES cells thus provide a tool for studying the differentiation and function of early human trophoblast and could provide a new understanding of some of the earliest differentiation events of human postimplantation development.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can interfere with normal hormone signaling to increase health risks to the maternal fetal system, yet few studies have been conducted on the currently used chiral EDCs. This work tested the hypothesis that pyrethroids could enantioselectively interfere with trophoblast cells. Cell viability, hormone secretion, and steroidogenesis gene expression of a widely used pyrethroid, bifenthrin (BF), were evaluated in vitro, and the interactions of BF enantiomers with estrogen receptor (ER) were predicted. At low or noncytotoxic concentrations, both progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin secretion were induced. The expression levels of progesterone receptor and human leukocyte antigen G genes were significantly stimulated. The key regulators of the hormonal cascade, GnRH type-I and its receptor, were both upregulated. The expression levels of selected steroidogenic genes were also significantly altered. Moreover, a consistent enantioselective interference of hormone signaling was observed, and S-BF had greater effects than R-BF. Using molecular docking, the enantioselective endocrine disruption of BF was predicted to be partially due to enantiospecific ER binding affinity. Thus, BF could act through ER to enantioselectively disturb the hormonal network in trophoblast cells. These converging results suggest that the currently used chiral pesticides are of significant concern with respect to maternal fetal health.
Trophoblast invasion and remodeling of the maternal spiral arteries are required for pregnancy success. Aberrant endothelium–trophoblast crosstalk may lead to preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that has serious effects on both the mother and the baby. However, our understanding of the mechanisms involved in this pathology remains elementary because the current in vitro models cannot describe trophoblast–endothelium interactions under dynamic culture. In this study, we developed a dynamic three‐dimensional (3D) placenta model by bioprinting trophoblasts and an endothelialized lumen in a perfusion bioreactor. We found the 3D printed perfusion bioreactor system significantly augmented responses of endothelial cells by encouraging network formations and expressions of angiogenic markers, cluster of differentiation 31 (CD31), matrix metalloproteinase‐2 (MMP2), matrix metalloproteinase‐9 (MMP9), and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA). Bioprinting favored colocalization of trophoblasts with endothelial cells, similar to in vivo observations. Additional analysis revealed that trophoblasts reduced the angiogenic responses by reducing network formation and motility rates while inducing apoptosis of endothelial cells. Moreover, the presence of endothelial cells appeared to inhibit trophoblast invasion rates. These results clearly demonstrated the utility and potential of bioprinting and perfusion bioreactor system to model trophoblast–endothelium interactions in vitro. Our bioprinted placenta model represents a crucial step to develop advanced research approach that will expand our understanding and treatment options of preeclampsia and other pregnancy‐related pathologies. Aberrant endothelium‐trophoblast crosstalk may lead to preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that has serious effects on both the mother and the baby. However, our understanding of the mechanisms involved in this pathology remains elementary because current in vitro models cannot describe trophoblast‐endothelium interactions under dynamic culture. In this work, we developed a dynamic placenta model by bioprinting trophoblasts and an endothelialized lumen in a 3D printed perfusion bioreactor.
Triazole fungicides are one of the top ten classes of current-use pesticides. Although exposure to triazole fungicides is associated with reproductive toxicity in mammals, limited information is available regarding the effects of triazole fungicides on human placental trophoblast function. Tebuconazole (TEB) is a common triazole fungicide that has been extensively used for fungi control. In this work, we showed that TEB could reduce cell viability, disturb normal cell cycle distribution and induce apoptosis of human placental trophoblast cell line HTR-8/SVneo (HTR-8). Bcl-2 protein expression decreased and the level of Bax protein increased after TEB treatment in HTR-8 cells. The results demonstrated that this fungicide induced apoptosis of trophoblast cells via mitochondrial pathway. Importantly, we found that the invasive and migratory capacities of HTR-8 cells decreased significantly after TEB administration. TEB altered the expression of key regulatory genes involved in the modulation of trophoblast functions. Taken together, TEB suppressed human trophoblast invasion and migration through affecting the expression of protease, hormones, angiogenic factors, growth factors and cytokines. As the invasive and migratory abilities of trophoblast are essential for successful placentation and fetus development, our findings suggest a potential risk of triazole fungicides to human pregnancy.
To identify early populations of committed progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), we screened self-renewing, BMP4-treated and retinoic acid-treated cultures with >400 antibodies recognizing cell-surface antigens. Sorting of >30 subpopulations followed by transcriptional analysis of developmental genes identified four distinct candidate progenitor groups. Subsets detected in self-renewing cultures, including CXCR4(+) cells, expressed primitive endoderm genes. Expression of Cxcr4 in primitive endoderm was confirmed in visceral endoderm of mouse embryos. BMP4-induced progenitors exhibited gene signatures of mesoderm, trophoblast and vascular endothelium, suggesting correspondence to gastrulation-stage primitive streak, chorion and allantois precursors, respectively. Functional studies in vitro and in vivo confirmed that ROR2(+) cells produce mesoderm progeny, APA(+) cells generate syncytiotrophoblasts and CD87(+) cells give rise to vasculature. The same progenitor classes emerged during the differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). These markers and progenitors provide tools for purifying human tissue-regenerating progenitors and for studying the commitment of pluripotent stem cells to lineage progenitors.
Endometrial epithelial cells (EECs) cultured in vitro are valuable tools for investigating embryo implantation and trophoblast differentiation. In this study, we have established the bovine EECs and trophoblast stem-like (TS) coculture system, and used it to investigate the binucleate cell formation of ungulates. The EECs was derived from the uterine horn ipsilateral to the corpus luteum by using collagenase I and deoxyribonuclease I, which exhibited typical epithelial morphology and were expressing bovine uterine epithelial marker such as IFNAR1, IFNAR2, Erα, PGR, ESR1 and KRT18. The cells immunostained positively by epithelial and trophectoderm marker cytokeratin 18 (KRT18) and stromal marker vimentin antibodies, and the KRT18 positive cells reached 99 %. The EECs can be cultured for up to 20 passages in vitro with no significant morphology changes and uterine epithelial marker gene expression alteration. The bTS cells were established in a dual inhibitor system and exhibited typical trophoblast stem cell characteristics. When bTS cells were cultured with EECs, the bTS cells adhered to the EECs as adhering to feeder cells. Binucleate cells began appearing on day 4 of coculture and reached approximately 18.47 % of the differentiated cells. Quantitative real-time PCR or immunofluorescence analyses were performed on bTS cells cocultured at day 6 and day 12. The results showed that the expression level of KRT18 was down-regulated while the expression level of trophoblast differentiation marker MASH2, HAND1, GCM1 and CDX2 was up-regulated in bTS cells. In conclusion, bovine EECs can be obtained from the uterine horn ipsilateral to the corpus luteum via treatment with collagenase I and deoxyribonuclease I, and the EECs-bTS cells coculture system presents an ideal tool for studying the differentiation of bTS cells to trophoblast binucleate cells.
Placental dysfunction underlies many complications during pregnancy, and better understanding of gene function during placentation could have considerable clinical relevance. However, the lack of a facile method for placenta-specific gene manipulation has hampered investigation of placental organogenesis and the treatment of placental dysfunction. We showed previously that transduction of fertilized mouse eggs with lentiviral vectors leads to transgene expression in both the fetus and the placenta. Here we report placenta-specific gene incorporation by lentiviral transduction of mouse blastocysts after removal of the zona pellucida. All of the placentas analyzed, but none of the fetuses, were transgenic. Application of this method substantially rescued mice deficient in Ets2, Mapk14 (also known as p38α) and Mapk1 (also known as Erk2) from embryonic lethality caused by placental defects. Ectopic expression of Mapk11 also complemented Mapk14 deficiency during placentation.
Encapsulation of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) into nanoparticles may offer promise for treating pregnant women with epilepsy by improving brain delivery and limiting the transplacental permeability of AEDs to avoid fetal exposure and its consequent undesirable adverse effects. Oxcarbazepine-loaded nanoparticles were prepared by a modified solvent displacement method from biocompatible polymers (poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) [PLGA] with or without surfactant and PEGylated PLGA [Resomer (R) RGPd5055]). The physical properties of the developed nanoparticles were determined with subsequent evaluation of their permeability across in vitro models of the blood-brain barrier (hCMEC/ D3 cells) and human placental trophoblast cells (BeWo b30 cells). Oxcarbazepine-loaded nanoparticles with encapsulation efficiency above 69% were prepared with sizes ranging from 140-170 nm, polydispersity indices below 0.3, and zeta potential values below -34 mV. Differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction studies confirmed the amorphous state of the nanoencapsulated drug. The apparent permeability (P-e) values of the free and nanoencapsulated oxcarbazepine were comparable across both cell types, likely due to rapid drug release kinetics. Transport studies using fluorescently-labeled nanoparticles (loaded with coumarin-6) demonstrated increased permeability of surfactant-coated nanoparticles. Future developments in enzyme-prodrug therapy and targeted delivery are expected to provide improved options for pregnant patients with epilepsy.
Preeclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy complication that is characterized by higher blood pressure, together with higher protein quantity presence in the urine, which occurs after 20 weeks of gestation leading to severity of adverse maternal and fetal consequences. Some special microRNAs (miRNAs) expressed in placentas may be related to the occurrence of PE. Researchers have found that the expression of miR-431 in PE placentas was increased if compared with normal placentas; however, the effect and mechanism of miR-431 in PE are still unknown. In this study, we compared the expression levels of miR-431 and its putative target gene Zinc finger -box-binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) in 30 PE placentas and 30 normal placenta tissues. The effects of miR-431 and ZEB1 were verified by CCK-8 assay, transwell migration and invasion assay, cell cycle distribution assay and apoptosis assay in HTR-8/SVneo cells transfected with miR-431 mimic, siR-ZEB1 and their negative controls. Results revealed that miR-431 was markedly added, while the mRNA and protein expressions of ZEB1 were decreased in PE placentas. The functional tests showed over-expression of miR-431 suppressed ZEB1 expression and decreased the migration and invasive capacity of trophoblast cells. MiR-431 overexpression induced apoptosis of HTR-8/SVneo cells, but it had no significant effect on cell proliferation and the distribution of cell cycle. In addition, siR-ZEB1 simulated the roles of miR-431 mimic. We found that miR-431 mimic and siR-ZEB1 reduced the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) with added E-cadherin expression and reduced vimentin expression in the cell line. In conclusion, we found that miR-431 inhibited the migration and invasion of trophoblastic cells by targeting ZEB1, which might give rise to the onset of PE.