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.
At the time of implantation, the trophoblast cells of the embryo adhere and then invade into the maternal endometrium and eventually establish placentation. The endometrium at the same time undergoes decidualization, which is essential for successful pregnancy. While the NK cells of the decidua have been implicated to play a key role in trophoblast invasion, few evidence are now available to demonstrate a pro‐invasive property of decidual stromal cells. Secretions from decidualized endometrial stromal cells promote invasion of primary trophoblasts and model cell lines by activating proteases and altering expression of adhesion‐related molecules. The decidual secretions contain high amounts of pro‐invasive factors that include IL ‐1β, IL ‐5, IL ‐6, IL ‐7, IL ‐8, IL ‐9, IL ‐13, IL ‐15, Eotaxin CCL 11, IP ‐10 and RANTES , and anti‐invasive factors IL ‐10, IL ‐12 and VEGF . It appears that these decidual factors promote invasion by regulating the protease pathways and integrin expression utilizing the STAT pathways in the trophoblast cells. At the same time the decidua also seem to secrete some anti‐invasive factors that are antagonist to the matrix metalloproteinases and/or are activators of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases. This might be essential to neutralize the effects of the invasion‐promoting factors and restrain overinvasion. It is tempting to propose that during the course of pregnancy, the decidua must balance the production of these pro and anti‐invasive molecules and such harmonizing production would allow a timely and regulated invasion.
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.
Abstract At the tips of anchoring villi, cytotrophoblast (CTB) proliferation leads to a process of multilayering in which cells lose their attachment to the villous basement membrane and develop into columns, within which they adhere to one another using desmosomes, with associated intermediate filament bundles. Non-desmosomal cadherins, tight junction proteins and other adhesion molecules are also present, suggesting that actin-associated adhesions contribute to placental anchorage. In the distal columns, cell–cell interactions diminish, cells upregulate β1 integrins and bind to a provisional fibrinoid extracellular matrix, eventually detaching to migrate into the decidual stroma and myometrium, where interstitial and endovascular extravillous trophoblast (EVT) populations show distinct repertoires of adhesion molecules.
Abstract In the placental villus, cells attach to basement membrane via integrin α6β4 and adhere both laterally and apically to their neighbours. The most prominent adhesive specialisation seen using the electron microscope is the desmosome, which connects cytotrophoblast cells (CTB) laterally and also contributes to the attachment of CTB to the overlying syncytium. However, numerous cadherins and other junctional proteins are also present in the corresponding plasma membrane domains, indicating a multiplicity of adhesive interactions. Integrins, tight junction components and cadherins are all found in the syncytial microvillous membrane, perhaps reflecting its ability to form intersyncytial bridges. There is a wide gulf to be filled between molecular anatomy and functional studies, with much to be learned about the role of adhesion molecules in regulating villous epithelial integrity, homeostasis and growth.
Objective To examine the expression pattern of biomarker proteins in extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells obtained noninvasively by trophoblast retrieval and isolation from the cervix (TRIC) in patients with early pregnancy loss compared with control patients with uncomplicated term delivery. Design Case-control study. Setting Academic medical center. Patient(s) Women with either early pregnancy loss (EPL, n = 10) or an uncomplicated term delivery (N = 10). Intervention(s) Endocervical specimens obtained from ongoing pregnancies at gestational ages of 5–10 weeks to generate an archive of EVT cells isolated by TRIC, with medical records examined to select specimens matched for gestational age at the time of endocervical sampling. Main Outcome Measure(s) Known serum biomarkers for adverse pregnancy outcome that are expressed by EVT cells were evaluated by semiquantitative immunocytochemistry, using antibodies against endoglin (ENG), FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 (FLT-1), α-fetoprotein (AFP), pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A), galectin-13 (LGALS13), galectin-14 (LGALS14), and placental growth factor (PGF). Result(s) The EVT purity was over 95% in all specimens, based on chorionic gonadotropin expression; however, the number of EVT cells obtained was significantly lower in women with EPL than the control group. There was a statistically significant elevation of AFP, ENG, and FLT-1, and statistically significant reduction of PAPP-A, LGALS14, and PGF in the EPL group compared with controls. Conclusion(s) In this pilot study, EVT cells isolated by TRIC early in gestation exhibited altered protein expression patterns before an EPL compared with uncomplicated term pregnancies.
Abstract Despite the high incidence of trophoblast-related diseases, the molecular mechanism of inadequate early trophoblast development is still unclear due to the lack of an appropriate cellular model in vitro. In the present study, we reprogrammed the amniotic cells to be induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) via a non-virus and non-integrated method and subsequently differentiated them into trophoblast-like cells by a modified BMP4 strategy in E6 medium. Compared with the previously studied trophoblast-like cells from ESCs, the iPSCs derived trophoblast-like cells behave similarly in terms of gene expression profiles and biofunctions. Also we confirmed the differentiating tendency from iPSCs to be syncytiotrophoblasts-like cells might be caused by inappropriate differentiating oxygen condition. Additionally, we preliminarily indicated in vitro “artificial” differentiation of iPSCs also undergoing a possible trophoblastic stem cell stage, as witnessed in vivo. In conclusion, we provided an in vitro cellular model to study early trophoblast development for specific individual, by using the feasible amnion.
Abstract Workshops are an important part of the IFPA annual meeting as they allow for discussion of specialised topics. At IFPA meeting 2016 there were twelve themed workshops, four of which are summarized in this report. These workshops related to various aspects of placental biology but collectively covered areas of decidual-trophoblast interaction, regulation of trophoblast invasion, immune cells at the maternal-fetal interface, and placental inflammation.
Infection of pregnant women by Asian lineage strains of Zika virus (ZIKV) has been linked to brain abnormalities in their infants, yet it is uncertain when during pregnancy the human conceptus is most vulnerable to the virus. We have examined two models to study susceptibility of human placental trophoblast to ZIKV: cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast derived from placental villi at term and colonies of trophoblast differentiated from embryonic stem cells (ESC). The latter appear to be analogous to the primitive placenta formed during implantation. The cells from term placentas, which resist infection, do not express genes encoding most attachment factors implicated in ZIKV entry but do express many genes associated with antiviral defense. By contrast, the ESC-derived trophoblasts possess a wide range of attachment factors for ZIKV entry and lack components of a robust antiviral response system. These cells, particularly areas of syncytiotrophoblast within the colonies, quickly become infected, produce infectious virus and undergo lysis within 48 h after exposure to lowtiters (multiplicity of infection > 0.07) of an African lineage strain (MR766 Uganda: ZIKV(U)) considered to be benignwith regards to effects on fetal development. Unexpectedly, lytic effects required significantly higher titers of the presumed more virulent FSS13025 Cambodia (ZIKV(C)). Our data suggest that the developing fetus might be most vulnerable to ZIKV early in the first trimester before a protective zone of mature villous trophoblast has been established. Additionally, MR766 is highly trophic toward primitive trophoblast, which may put the early conceptus of an infected mother at high risk for destruction.
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.