Dystroglycan expression in human placenta: Basement membrane localization and subunit distribution change between the first and third trimester

Reagan M. Street, Sara J. Mucowski, Rheann Urrabaz-Garza, Kyle O'Boyle, Russell Snyder, Regan N. Theiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study describes the distribution of dystroglycan (DG) in human placenta, membranes, and uterine decidua. Study design: Dystroglycan expression was characterized by Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence microscopy using human tissues and cultured cells. Results: Both α-DG and β-DG are expressed in the term syncytiotrophoblast, and α-DG is localized to the basement membrane. In first-trimester chorionic villi, α-DG and β-DG are localized to the periphery of the cytotrophoblast. Expression varies in term fetal membranes. α-Dystroglycan is not detectable in choriocarcinoma cells or HTR cells, but β-DG is present in both normal and cleaved forms. Conclusion: Dystroglycan is expressed at high levels in human trophoblasts, and localization of the α- and β-subunits varies with gestational age and trophoblast differentiation. Because DG expression inversely correlates with invasiveness in many cancers, its pattern of expression in trophoblasts suggests a possible function in inhibition of placental invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012



  • dystroglycan
  • placenta
  • trophoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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