Cytotrophoblast stem cell lines derived from human embryonic stem cells and their capacity to mimic invasive implantation events
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BACKGROUND: An effective embryonic-maternal interaction is crucial for successful human pregnancy. Failure of this process is a major cause of infertility and can lead to placental dysfunction resulting in recurrent miscarriage, fetal retardation and pre-eclampsia. Research is severely constrained by ethical and practical considerations; therefore, we aimed to generate cytotrophoblast stem (CTBS) cell lines from human embryonic stem cells (HESCs). METHOD: Beta-HCG was used as a marker of viable trophoblast cells. In defined culture, embryoid bodies were generated from HESCs and selected for trophoblast enrichment by rounds of cellular aggregation and disaggregation. Distinct CTBS cell lines were isolated and characterized. Spheroid cytotrophoblast bodies were generated and their interaction with luteal-phase endometrial stroma was analysed by real-time image analysis. RESULTS: Three CTBS cell lines were derived, which were maintained in the absence of residual HESCs, fibroblast feeder cells or extracellular matrix. CTBS cells displayed typical cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast characteristics and exhibited further differentiation to invasive endovascular cell phenotype. One cell line was generated with constitutive expression of enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP). Spheroid trophoblast bodies mimicked closely the early invasive stages of implantation when incubated with human endometrial stromal preparations in vitro. CONCLUSION: These human CTBS cell lines are a significant new model for investigating human placentation and may have considerable potential in cell therapy applications.
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