Preimplantation factor (PIF) is a peptide secreted by viable mammalian embryos. Moreover, it can be detected in the circulation of pregnant women. Recently, it was shown that PIF promotes invasion in trophoblast cell lines in vitro. Successful human embryo implantation depends on a deep and highly controlled invasion of extravillous trophoblast (EVT) in the maternal endometrium. Trophoblast invasion is regulated in part by matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity and integrin expression. The present study demonstrates the presence of PIF in early pregnancy and characterizes its effects on primary human trophoblast invasion. At the fetomaternal interface, intense PIF labeling by immunohistochemistry was present during early gestation in villous trophoblasts and EVTs. A decrease of labeling was observed at term. Furthermore, PIF significantly promoted invasion of human EVT isolated from first-trimester placenta. The proinvasive regulatory effect of PIF in EVT was associated with 1) increased MMP9 activity and 2) reduced tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP1) mRNA expression. PIF also regulated alpha v and alpha 1 integrin mRNA expressions. Last, the proinvasive effect of PIF appeared to be mediated by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K), and Janus-kinase signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathways. In summary, this work describes the direct, positive effect of PIF on the control of human trophoblastic cell invasion by modulation of MMP/TIMP balance and integrin expression. Moreover, these results suggest that PIF is involved in pathological pregnancies characterized by insufficient or excessive trophoblast invasion.
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.
Abstract During pregnancy, the extravillous trophoblast (EVT) invades the maternal decidua and remodels spiral arteries reaching as far as the inner third of the myometrium. This process is mandatory to a successful pregnancy since EVTs regulate spiral artery remodeling to achieve maximal vasodilation and thus an adequate nutrient supply to the embryo or communicate with maternal leukocyte populations to guarantee acceptance of the allogeneic conceptus. To achieve this, EVTs undergo a remarkable and unique differentiation process, which yields different phenotypes such as proliferative cell column trophoblasts or growth-arrested, invasive interstitial or endovascular cytotrophoblasts. Matrix metalloproteinases have long been seen as imperative to trophoblast invasion because of their ability to degrade extracellular matrix and therefore allow cellular movement in foreign tissues. However, global gene expression analysis reveals that EVTs also express various members of distintegrin and metalloproteinases (ADAMs). These proteases are associated with the process of proteolytic shedding and activation of surface proteins including growth factors, cytokines, receptors and their ligands rather than extracellular matrix breakdown. While ADAM12 has been associated with chromosomal abnormalities as well as preeclampsia or intrauterine fetal growth restriction, the function of ADAMs in trophoblasts remains elusive. In this article, we review the diverse invasive trophoblast phenotypes, EVT-associated protease systems and related open questions. In addition, we examine recent information about relevant ADAM members and their putative implications for EVT biology.
Glucose transport to the fetus across the placenta takes place via glucose transporters in the opposing faces of the barrier layer, the microvillous and basal membranes of the syncytiotrophoblast. While basal membrane content of the GLUT1 glucose transporter appears to be the rate-limiting step in transplacental transport, the factors regulating transporter expression and activity are largely unknown. In view of the many studies showing an association between IGF-I and fetal growth, we investigated the effects of IGF-I on placental glucose transport and GLUT1 transporter expression. Treatment of BeWo choriocarcinoma cells with IGF-I increased cellular GLUT1 protein. There was increased basolateral (but not microvillous) uptake of glucose and increased transepithelial transport of glucose across the BeWo monolayer. Primary syncytial cells treated with IGF-I also demonstrated an increase in GLUT1 protein. Term placental explants treated with IGF-I showed an increase in syncytial basal membrane GLUT1 but microvillous membrane GLUT1 was not affected. The placental dual perfusion model was used to assess the effects of fetally perfused IGF-I on transplacental glucose transport and syncytial GLUT1 content. In control perfusions there was a decrease in transplacental glucose transport over the course of the perfusion, whereas in tissues perfused with IGF-I through the fetal circulation there was no change. Syncytial basal membranes from IGF-I perfused tissues showed an increase in GLUT1 content. These results demonstrate that IGF-I, whether acting via microvillous or basal membrane receptors, increases the basal membrane content of GLUT1 and up-regulates basal membrane transport of glucose, leading to increased transepithelial glucose transport. These observations provide a partial explanation for the mechanism by which IGF-I controls nutrient supply in the regulation of fetal growth.
Abstract Invasion of extravillous trophoblast into maternal tissues has a profound effect on the oxygenation of the placenta and hence the fetus. The main route of trophoblast invasion is interstitial invasion into the tissues of the decidua and myometrium. From this main route side branches reach the spiral arteries (endovascular trophoblast) as well as the uterine glands (endoglandular trophoblast) to open both structures toward the intervillous space. This enables histiotrophic nutrition in the first trimester and hemotrophic nutrition in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Failure of endovascular trophoblast invasion has profound effects on the oxygenation of the placenta. Interestingly, this does not lead to hypoxia as has long been presumed. Rather, all measurements available today point to increased oxygen levels within the placenta in patients with a failure of spiral artery transformation. This should lead to a rethink regarding pathological conditions such as intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia.
Problem Women with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) are at risk for pregnancy complications. Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) alter trophoblast function by triggering an inflammatory cytokine response; modulating angiogenic factor secretion; and inhibiting migration. While patients with APS are often treated with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), its effect on trophoblast function is poorly understood. Method of study A human first trimester trophoblast cell line was treated with or without antihuman β2GPI mAbs in the presence or absence of HCQ. Supernatants were analyzed by ELISA. Cell migration was measured using a colormetric assay. Results Antiphospholipid antibodies‐induced trophoblast IL‐8, IL‐1 β, PlGF, and sEndoglin secretion were not altered by HCQ. aPL‐induced inhibition of trophoblast migration was partially reversed by HCQ, even though HCQ significantly increased secretion of pro‐migratory IL‐6 to greater than baseline. aPL‐induced upregulation of TIMP2 appears to inhibit trophoblast migration; the inability of HCQ to prevent aPL‐induced TIMP2 may explain why migration was only partially restored. Conclusion Hydroxychloroquine reversed the aPL‐inhibition of trophoblast IL‐6 secretion and partially limited aPL‐inhibition of cell migration. Thus, some form of combination therapy that includes HCQ may be beneficial to pregnant APS patients.
Abstract MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate the expression of a large number of genes in plants and animals. Placental miRNAs appeared late in evolution and can be found only in mammals. Nevertheless, these miRNAs are constantly under evolutionary pressure. As a consequence, miRNA sequences and their mRNA targets may differ between species, and some miRNAs can only be found in humans. Their expression can be tissue- or cell-specific and can vary time-dependently. Human placenta tissue exhibits a specific miRNA expression pattern that dynamically changes during pregnancy and is reflected in the maternal plasma. Some placental miRNAs are involved in or associated with major pregnancy disorders, such as preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction or preterm delivery and, therefore, have a strong potential for usage as sensitive and specific biomarkers. In this review we summarize current knowledge on the origin of placental miRNAs, their expression in humans with special regard to trophoblast cells, interspecies differences, and their future as biomarkers. It can be concluded that animal models for human reproduction have a different panel of miRNAs and targets, and can only partly reflect or predict the situation in humans.
Common pregnancy complications, such as severe preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction, disrupt pregnancy progression and impair maternal and fetal wellbeing. Placentas from such pregnancies exhibit lesions principally within the syncytiotrophoblast (SCT), a layer in direct contact with maternal blood. In humans and mice, glial cell missing-1 (GCM-1) promotes differentiation of underlying cytotrophoblast cells into the outer SCT layer. GCM-1 may be regulated by the transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma); in mice, PPAR-gamma promotes labyrinthine trophoblast differentiation via Gcm-1, and, as we previously demonstrated, PPAR-gamma activation ameliorates disease features in rat model of preeclampsia. Here, we aimed to characterize the baseline activity of PPAR-gamma in the human choriocarcinoma BeWo cell line that mimics SCT formation in vitro and modulate PPAR-gamma activity to study its effects on cell proliferation versus differentiation. We report a novel negative autoregulatory mechanism between PPAR-gamma activity and expression and show that blocking PPAR-gamma activity induces cell proliferation at the expense of differentiation, while these remain unaltered following treatment with the agonist rosiglitazone. Gaining a deeper understanding of the role and activity of PPAR-gamma in placental physiology will offer new avenues for the development of secondary prevention and/or treatment options for placentally-mediated pregnancy complications.