In Vitro and In Vivo Evidence for Lack of Endovascular Remodeling by Third Trimester Trophoblasts

S. Kalkunte, Z. Lai, N. Tewari, C. Chichester, R. Romero, J. Padbury, S. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The placental-decidual interaction through invading trophoblasts determines whether a physiological transformation of the uterine spiral arteries is established or not. Trophoblast-orchestrated artery remodeling is central to normal placentation. Dysregulated uteroplacental interaction and vascular remodeling are thought to be associated with the molecular events underlying the pathology of late pregnancy anomalies including preeclampsia. Although the exact gestational age at which trophoblast invasion ceases is not known, it remains unclear whether late pregnancy trophoblasts retain the ability to transform the uterine arteries. Here, we have developed a dual cell, in vitro culture system that mimics the vascular remodeling events during normal pregnancy. We demonstrate that first and third trimester trophoblasts respond differentially to interactive signals from endothelial cells when cultured on matrigel. Term primary trophoblasts or immortalized third trimester extravillous TCL1 trophoblasts not only fail to respond to signals from endothelial cells but also inhibit endothelial cell tube formation. In contrast, HTR8 cells, representing a first trimester trophoblast cell line with invasive properties, undergo spontaneous migration and synchronize with the endothelial cells in a capillary network. This disparity in behavior was confirmed in vivo using a matrigel plug assay. Poor expression of VEGF C and VEGF receptors coupled with high E-cadherin expression by term primary trophoblasts and TCL1 cells contributed to their restricted interactive and migratory properties. We further show that the kinase activity of VEGF R2 is essential for proactive crosstalk by HTR8 cells. This unique behavior of first trimester trophoblasts in the presence of endothelial cells offers a potential approach to study cell-cell interactions and to decipher modulatory components in the serum samples from adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-878
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Capillary tube formation
  • E-cadherin
  • Endothelial cells
  • Three-dimensional co-culture system
  • Trophoblast invasion
  • VEGF C and VEGF R2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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