Abstract Placental stress has been implicated in the pathophysiology of complications of pregnancy, including growth restriction and pre-eclampsia. Initially, attention focused on oxidative stress, but recently mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum stress have been identified. Complex molecular interactions exist among these different forms of stress, making it unlikely that any occurs in isolation. In part, this is due to close physiological connections between the two organelles principally involved, mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), mediated through Ca2+ signalling. Here, we review the involvement of the mitochondria-ER unit in the generation of stress within the trophoblast, and consider consequences for obstetric outcome. Mild stress may induce adaptive responses, including upregulation of antioxidant defences and autophagy, while moderate levels may affect stem cell behaviour and reduce cell proliferation, contributing to the growth-restricted phenotype. High levels of stress can stimulate release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-angiogenic factors, increasing the risk of pre-eclampsia. In addition, chronic stress may promote senescence of the trophoblast, which in other cell types leads to a pro-inflammatory senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Evidence from rodents suggests that a degree of trophoblastic stress develops with increasing gestational age in normal pregnancies. The increase in maternal concentrations of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and reduction in placental growth factor (PlGF) suggest the same may occur in the human, starting around 30 weeks of pregnancy. Placental malperfusion, or co-existing maternal conditions, such as diabetes, will exacerbate that stress. Amelioration of trophoblastic stress should remain a research priority, but will be difficult due to the complexity of the molecular pathways involved.
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.
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.
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.
BackgroundMaternal alcohol abuse leading to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) includes fetal growth restriction (FGR). Ethanol (EtOH) induces apoptosis of human placental trophoblast cells, possibly disrupting placentation and contributing to FGR in FASD. EtOH facilitates apoptosis in several embryonic tissues, including human trophoblasts, by raising intracellular Ca2+. We previously found that acute EtOH exposure increases trophoblast apoptosis due to signaling from both intracellular and extracellular Ca2+. Therefore, nifedipine, a Ca2+ channel blocker that is commonly administered to treat preeclampsia and preterm labor, was evaluated for cytoprotective properties in trophoblast cells exposed to alcohol. MethodsHuman first-trimester chorionic villous explants and the human trophoblast cell line HTR-8/SVneo (HTR) were pretreated with 12.5 to 50nM of the Ca2+ channel blocker nifedipine for 1hour before exposure to 50mM EtOH for an additional hour. Intracellular Ca2+ concentrations were monitored in real time by epifluorescence microscopy, using fluo-4-AM. Apoptosis was assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL), accumulation of cytoplasmic cytochrome c, and cleavage rates of caspase 3 and caspase 9. ResultsThe increase in intracellular Ca2+ upon exposure to EtOH in both villous explants and HTR cells was completely blocked (p<0.05) when pretreated with nifedipine, accompanied by inhibition of EtOH-induced release of cytochrome c, caspase activities, and TUNEL. ConclusionsThis study indicates that nifedipine can interrupt the apoptotic pathway downstream of EtOH exposure and could provide a novel strategy for future interventions in women with fetuses at risk for FASD.
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.
Abstract Recently, direct cell fate conversion attempts between the embryonic and extra-embryonic lineage gained new momentum. Two concomitant publications were published, describing the successful generation of transgene-independent, self-renewing trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) from murine fibroblasts. Cells were faithfully converted, displaying high similarity to blastocyst or extraembryonic ectoderm derived TSCs. Here, we summarize and compare published attempts aiming at the direct induction of trophoblast-fate from either mouse embryonic stem cells or fibroblasts.
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.