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.
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 .
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.
Controversy surrounds reports describing the derivation of human trophoblast cells from placentas and embryonic stem cells (ESC), partly due to the difficulty in identifying markers that define cells as belonging to the trophoblast lineage. We have selected criteria that are characteristic of primary first-trimester trophoblast: a set of protein markers, HLA class I profile, methylation of , and expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) from the chromosome 19 miRNA cluster (C19MC). We tested these criteria on cells previously reported to show some phenotypic characteristics of trophoblast: bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-treated human ESC and 2102Ep, an embryonal carcinoma cell line. Both cell types only show some, but not all, of the four trophoblast criteria. Thus, BMP-treated human ESC have not fully differentiated to trophoblast. Our study identifies a robust panel, including both protein and non-protein-coding markers that, in combination, can be used to reliably define cells as characteristic of early trophoblast. The identity of trophoblast cells derived from human ESC differentiation is controversial. In this article, Moffett, Lee, and colleagues use primary trophoblast to identify a set of criteria that can define early trophoblast. With these parameters, they show that human ESC treated with BMP4 and two inhibitors have not fully converted to the trophoblast lineage.
Background Preeclampsia has become the world's major maternal health problem putting a huge burden on mothers, newborns and also on the health systems. The pathogenesis of preeclampsia seems to include events in very early pregnancy affecting differentiation of placental villous trophoblast. The arising changes of the cell death spectrum from apoptosis via increased autophagy and aponecrosis to necrosis in turn induce systemic inflammation of the mother. Methods Placental tissue samples and maternal serum samples from 40 pregnant women were collected from normal pregnancy, IUGR, early-onset and late-onset preeclampsia. Immunohistochemistry for LC3B and Beclin-1 was quantified using systematic random sampling techniques. Serum levels of LDH and other markers were assessed in serum. Results Expression of the autophagy markers LC3B and Beclin-1 was significantly different between groups as was the LC3B/Beclin-1 ratio. Early-onset preeclampsia and IUGR had the highest autophagy protein expression levels, while normal pregnancy and late-onset preeclampsia had the highest LC3B/Beclin-1 ratio. Early-onset preeclampsia had the highest negative correlation with free LDH as cell defect marker. Conclusions Autophagy plays a critical role in the cell death spectrum and cellular survival capacity of villous trophoblast. Alterations in autophagic protein expression are involved in pathological pregnancies such as preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is characterized by hypertension and proteinuria twenty weeks into pregnancy. Failure of uterine spiral artery remodeling contributes to preeclampsia's development. The development might be associated with trophoblast cells functioning abnormally. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are aberrantly expressed in many diseases. Maternally expressed gene 3 (MEG3), one of these lncRNAs, might function as a tumor suppressor. Aberrant expression of MEG3 induces prenatal death, and little is known of MEG3's role in preeclampsia. This study aims to identify the role of lncRNA MEG3 on apoptosis and the migration of human trophoblast cells, and to investigate the involvement of lncRNA MEG3 in pathogenic mechanisms underlying preeclampsia. In this study, we found MEG3 levels were down-regulated by approximately 80% in placental samples collected from preeclamptic patients (n=30) compared to samples collected from normotensive patients (n=30) by qRT-PCR analysis. By designing RNA interference species to suppress MEG3 and specific plasmids designed to over-express MEG3, we explored the role of MEG3 on the functions of two trophoblast cell-lines, HTR-8/SVneo and JEG3 cells. Over-expression of MEG3 reduced apoptosis and promoted migration of HTR-8/SVneo and JEG3 cells. Furthermore, inhibition of endogenous MEG3 increased apoptosis and decreased migration of HTR-8/SVneo and JEG3 cells. Additionally, lncRNA MEG3 influenced expression of NF-B, Caspase-3, and Bax protein expressions in trophoblast cells. Our findings highlight that abnormal levels of lncRNA MEG3 might lead to aberrant conditions in HTR-8/SVneo and JEG3 trophoblast cells, which might be associated with uterine spiral artery remodeling failure and its contribution to preeclampsia. J. Cell. Biochem. 116: 542-550, 2015. (c) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Normal implantation depends on appropriate trophoblast growth and invasion. Inadequate trophoblast invasion results in pregnancy-related disorders, such as early miscarriage and pre-eclampsia, which are dangerous to both the mother and fetus. Msh Homeobox 2 (MSX2), a member of the MSX family of homeobox proteins, plays a significant role in the proliferation and differentiation of various cells and tissues, including ectodermal organs, teeth, and chondrocytes. Recently, MSX2 was found to play important roles in the invasion of cancer cells into adjacent tissues via the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). However, the role of MSX2 in trophoblastic invasion during placental development has yet to be explored. In the present study, we detected MSX2 expression in cytotrophoblast, syncytiotrophoblast, and extravillous cytotrophoblast cells of first or third trimester human placentas via immunohistochemistry analysis. Furthermore, we found that the in vitro invasive ability of HTR8/SVneo cells was enhanced by exogenous overexpression of MSX2, and that this effect was accompanied by increased protein expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), vimentin, and β-catenin. Conversely, treatment of HTR8/SVneo cells with MSX2-specific siRNAs resulted in decreased protein expression of MMP-2, vimentin, and β-catenin, and reduced invasion levels in a Matrigel invasion test. Notably, however, treatment with the MSX2 overexpression plasmid and the MSX2 siRNAs had no effect on the mRNA expression levels of β-catenin. Meanwhile, overexpression of MSX2 and treatment with the MSX2-specific siRNA resulted in decreased and increased E-cadherin expression, respectively, in JEG-3 cells. Lastly, the protein expression levels of MSX2 were significantly lower in human pre-eclamptic placental villi than in the matched control placentas. Collectively, our results suggest that MSX2 may induce human trophoblast cell invasion, and dysregulation of MSX2 expression may be associated with pre-eclampsia.
The first cell fate choice of the preimplantation embryo generates the extraembryonic trophoblast and embryonic epiblast lineages. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) can be utilized to investigate molecular mechanisms of this first cell fate decision. It has been established that ESCs can be induced to acquire trophoblast lineage characteristics upon manipulation of lineage-determining transcription factors. Here, we have interrogated the potential of microRNAs (miRNAs) to drive trans-differentiation of ESCs into the trophoblast lineage. Analysis of gene expression data identified a network of TSC-enriched miRNAs that were predicted to target mRNAs enriched in ESCs. Ectopic expression of these miRNAs in ESCs resulted in a stable trophoblast phenotype, supported by gene expression changes and in vivo contribution potential. This process is highly miRNA-specific and dependent on Hdac2 inhibition. Our experimental evidence suggests that these miRNAs promote a mural trophectoderm (TE)-like cell fate with physiological properties that differentiate them from the polar TE. Nosi et al. identify microRNAs sufficient to drive embryonic to extraembryonic lineage conversion by employing stem cell models. Trophoblast-enriched microRNAs downregulate pluripotency-associated genes in ESCs and drive the acquisition of a preimplantation mural trophectoderm phenotype. This work suggests the involvement of microRNAs in networks regulating preimplantation development.