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Cell Commun Signal. 2004 Jun 9;2(1):4.

Regulation of trophoblast beta1-integrin expression by contact with endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis CA 95616, USA. gcdouglas@ucdavis.edu



In human and non-human primates, migratory trophoblasts penetrate the uterine epithelium, invade uterine matrix, and enter the uterine vasculature. Invasive trophoblasts show increased expression of beta1 integrin. Since trophoblast migration within the uterine vasculature involves trophoblast attachment to endothelial cells lining the vessel walls, this raises the possibility that cell-cell contact and/or factors released by endothelial cells could regulate trophoblast integrin expression. To test this, we used an in vitro system consisting of early gestation macaque trophoblasts co-cultured on top of uterine microvascular endothelial cells.


When cultured alone, trophoblasts expressed low levels of beta1 integrin as determined by quantitative immunofluorescence microscopy. When trophoblasts were cultured on top of endothelial cells for 24 h, the expression of trophoblast beta1 integrin was significantly increased as determined by image analysis. beta1 Integrin expression was not increased when trophoblasts were cultured with endothelial cell-conditioned medium, suggesting that upregulation requires direct contact between trophoblasts and endothelial cells. To identify endothelial cell surface molecules responsible for induction of trophoblast integrin expression, trophoblasts were cultured in dishes coated with recombinant platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), or alphaVbeta3 integrin. Trophoblast beta1 integrin expression (assessed by immunofluorescence microscopy and Western blotting) was increased when PECAM-1 or alphaVbeta3 integrin, but not ICAM-1, was used as substrate.


Direct contact between trophoblasts and endothelial cells increases the expression of trophoblast beta1 integrin.

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