Amnion epithelial cell (AEC) shedding causes microfractures in human placental membranes during gestation. However, microfractures are healed to maintain membrane integrity. To better understand the cellular mechanisms of healing and tissue remodeling, scratch assays were performed using primary AECs derived from normal term not in labor membranes. AECs were grown under different conditions: i) normal cultures (control), ii) oxidative stress (OS) induction by cigarette smoke extract (CSE), iii) co-treatment of CSE and antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine, and iv) treatment with amniotic fluid (AF). Cell migration time and distance, changes in intermediate filament (cytokeratin-18 and vimentin) expressions, and cellular senescence were determined. Control AECs in culture exhibited a metastate with the expression of both cytokeratin-18 and vimentin. During healing, AECs proliferated, migrated, and transitioned from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype with increased vimentin. Wound healing was associated with mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET). CSE-induced OS and senescence prevented wound healing in which cells sustained mesenchymal state. N-acetyl-L-cysteine reversed CSE's effect to aid wound closure through MET. AF accelerated cellular transitions and healing. Our data suggest that AECs undergo epithelial to mesenchymal transition during proliferation and migration and MET at the injury site to promote healing. AF accelerated whereas OS diminished cellular transitions and healing. OS-inducing pregnancy risk factors may diminish remodeling capacity contributing to membrane dysfunction, leading to preterm birth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine