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.
Difficulties associated with long-term culture of primary trophoblasts have proven to be a major hurdle in their functional characterization. In order to circumvent this issue, several model cell lines have been established over many years using a variety of different approaches. Due to their differing origins, gene expression profiles and behaviour in vitro, different model lines have been utilized to investigate specific aspects of trophoblast biology. However, generally speaking, the molecular mechanisms underlying functional differences remain unclear. In this study, we profiled genome-scale DNA methylation in primary first trimester trophoblast cells and seven commonly used trophoblast-derived cell lines in an attempt to identify functional pathways differentially regulated by epigenetic modification in these cells. We identified a general increase in DNA promoter methylation levels in four choriocarcinoma (CCA)-derived lines and transformed HTR-8/SVneo cells, including hypermethylation of several genes regularly seen in human cancers, while other differences in methylation were noted in genes linked to immune responsiveness, cell morphology, development and migration across the different cell populations. Interestingly, CCA-derived lines show an overall methylation profile more similar to unrelated solid cancers than to untransformed trophoblasts, highlighting the role of aberrant DNA methylation in CCA development and/or long-term culturing. Comparison of DNA methylation and gene expression in CCA lines and cytotrophoblasts revealed a significant contribution of DNA methylation to overall expression profile. These data highlight the variability in epigenetic state between primary trophoblasts and cell models in pathways underpinning a wide range of cell functions, providing valuable candidate pathways for future functional investigation in different cell populations. This study also confirms the need for caution in the interpretation of data generated from manipulation of such pathways in vitro.
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.
Preeclampsia (PE), a condition during pregnancy that involves high blood pressure and proteinuria, is potentially fatal to both mother and child. PE currently has no known etiology or cure but has been tied to poor placental trophoblast cell migration. Increased levels of the toxic metal cadmium (Cd) have been associated with increased risk of developing PE, as well as miRNA-associated regulation of the transforming growth factorbeta (TGF-β) pathway. Signal reprogramming of the TGF-β pathway via epigenetic mechanisms is hypothesized to modify placental trophoblast function. In the present study we investigated the role of increased and decreased signaling of the TGF-β pathway in relation to Cd-induced reduction in cellular migration in JEG3 trophoblast cells. Furthermore, the role of a miR-26a as a molecular mediator of placental trophoblast migration was confirmed. The results demonstrate that increased expression of miR-26a and decreased signaling of the TGF-β pathway increase placental cell migration. These findings have relevance for mechanistic understanding of the underpinnings of poor placentation associated with PE.
Several aquaporins (AQPs) are expressed in extravillous (EVT) and villous trophoblast cells. Among them, AQP3 is the most abundant AQP expressed in chorionic villi samples from first trimester, followed by AQP1 and AQP9. Although AQP3 expression persists in term placentas, it is significantly decreased in placentas from preeclamptic pregnancies. AQP3 is involved in the migration of different cell types, however its role in human placenta is still unknown. Here, we evaluated the role of AQP3 in the migration of EVT cells during early gestation. Our results showed that Swan 71 cells expressed AQP1, AQP3 and AQP9 but only the blocking of AQP3 by CuSO or the silencing of its expression by siRNA significantly attenuates EVT cell migration. Our work provides evidence that AQP3 is required for EVT cell migration and suggests that an altered expression of placental AQP3 may produce failures in placentation such as in preeclampsia.
Abstract Introduction Incomplete human extravillous trophoblast (EVT) invasion of the decidua and maternal spiral arteries is characteristic of pre-eclampsia, a condition linked to low maternal vitamin D status. It is hypothesized that dysregulated vitamin D action in uteroplacental tissues disrupts EVT invasion leading to malplacentation. Methods This study assessed the effects of the active vitamin D metabolite, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-D3 ), and its precursor, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25-D3 ), on primary human EVT isolated from first trimester pregnancies. Expression of EVT markers (cytokeratin-7, HLA-G), the vitamin D-activating enzyme (CYP27B1) and 1,25-D3 receptor (VDR) was assessed by immunocytochemistry. EVT responses following in vitro treatment with 1,25-D3 (0–10 nM) or 25-D3 (0–100 nM) for 48–60 h were assessed using quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis of key target genes. Effects on EVT invasion through Matrigel® were quantified alongside zymographic analysis of secreted matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Effects on cell viability were assessed by measurement of MTT. Results EVT co-expressed mRNA and protein for CYP27B1 and VDR, and demonstrated induction of mRNA encoding vitamin D-responsive genes, 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1) and cathelicidin following 1,25-D3 treatment. EVT could respond to 1,25-D3 and 25-D3 , both of which significantly increased EVT invasion, with maximal effect at 1 nM 1,25-D3 (1.9-fold; p < 0.01) and 100 nM 25-D3 (2.2-fold; p < 0.05) respectively compared with untreated controls. This was accompanied by increased pro-MMP2 and pro-MMP9 secretion. The invasion was independent of cell viability, which remained unchanged. Discussion These data support a role for vitamin D in EVT invasion during human placentation and suggest that vitamin D-deficiency may contribute to impaired EVT invasion and pre-eclampsia.
Citation Atay S, Gercel‐Taylor C, Taylor DD. Human trophoblast‐derived exosomal fibronectin induces pro‐inflammatory Il‐1β production by macrophages. Am J Reprod Immunol 2011; 66: 259–269 Problem Our previous studies demonstrated that trophoblast‐derived exosomes induced synthesis and release of pro‐inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin‐1β (IL‐1β) by macrophages. The objective of this study was to characterize the mechanism and receptors associated with this induction. Method of study Exosomes were isolated from Sw71 trophoblast‐conditioned media by ultrafiltration and ultracentrifugation. Using macrophages isolated from normal donors, cytochalasin D was used to block exosome uptake. Induction of IL‐1β mRNA was investigated by qRT‐PCR, pro‐IL‐1β protein by western immunoblotting, and mature IL‐1β release by ELISA. RGD peptides were used to block fibronectin binding by macrophage α5β1 integrin. Results Uptake of exosomes by macrophages was completely blocked by pre‐treatment with cytochalasin D. Although induction of some cytokines (such as C4A and CCL11) requires uptake, induction of IL‐1β occurred without exosome internalization. Cytochalasin D treatment did not inhibit exosome‐mediated induction of IL‐1β mRNA, production of the pro‐protein, or release of mature IL‐1β. Blocking of fibronectin binding using RGD peptides demonstrated the abrogation of exosome‐mediated IL‐1β production. Conclusion Although trophoblast‐derived exosomes have been demonstrated to induce IL‐1β, this is the first demonstration of IL‐1β induction by exosome‐associated fibronectin. Based on this pro‐inflammatory role of exosome‐associated fibronectin, it may represent an important general immunoregulatory mechanism.
The trophoblast cell lineage is essential for the survival of the mammalian embryo in utero. This lineage is specified before implantation into the uterus and is restricted to form the fetal portion of the placenta. A culture of mouse blastocysts or early postimplantation trophoblasts in the presence of fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4) permitted the isolation of permanent trophoblast stem cell lines. These cell lines differentiated to other trophoblast subtypes in vitro in the absence of FGF4 and exclusively contributed to the trophoblast lineage in vivo in chimeras.