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Reproduction. 2010 Jul;140(1):3-9. doi: 10.1530/REP-09-0544. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

Embryonic stem cells as models of trophoblast differentiation: progress, opportunities, and limitations.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, 1223 Capitol Court, Madison, Wisconsin 53715-1299, USA.


While the determination of the trophoblast lineage and the facilitation of placental morphogenesis by trophoblast interactions with other cells of the placenta are crucial components for the establishment of pregnancy, these processes are not tractable at the time of human implantation. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) provide an embryonic surrogate to derive insights into these processes. In this review, we will summarize current paradigms which promote trophoblast differentiation from ESCs, and potential opportunities for their use to further define signals directing morphogenesis of the placenta following implantation of the embryo into the endometrium.

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