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Placenta. 2005 Apr;26 Suppl A:S46-8.

Extravillous trophoblast apoptosis--a workshop report.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy II, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Wendlingweg 2, 52057 Aachen, Germany.


During normal pregnancy, extravillous trophoblast cells invade maternal uterine tissues. The interstitial trophoblast penetrates decidual tissues reaching the inner third of the myometrium. A subset of the interstitial trophoblast, the intramural/endovascular trophoblast transforms uterine spiral arteries into large-bore conduits to enable the adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen to the placenta and thus the fetus. Control of invasion is still a mystery and therefore, in this workshop report already existing concepts as well as new models are discussed. Maternal cells such as macrophages and endothelial cells have a clear impact on trophoblast invasion and apoptosis. However, the trophoblast cells need to be susceptible to undergo apoptosis. Thus, an intrinsic program within the trophoblast needs to be activated before induction from the outside can be successful. Quantification of apoptosis further clarified that apoptosis of interstitial trophoblast is not the ultimate means to lead to pathologically shallow invasion. On the other hand, apoptosis of intramural/endovascular trophoblast seems to be highly relevant for a correct transformation of spiral arteries.

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