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Biol Reprod. 1994 Sep;51(3):524-30.

Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor localization and activation in human trophoblast and choriocarcinoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, Rosie Maternity Hospital, England.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF; also known as vascular permeability factor) is a secreted angiogenic growth factor. It is highly specific for endothelial cells, and its receptor, the fms-like tyrosine kinase (flt), has been localized only to endothelial cells in vivo. Here we describe the expression of mRNA encoding flt in human trophoblast as revealed by in situ hybridization. This mRNA is highly expressed in the cytotrophoblast shell and columns and also highly expressed by the extravillous trophoblast (EVT) in the maternal decidua both in the first trimester and at term. The trophoblast-like choriocarcinoma cell line BeWo also expresses this receptor and the related receptor, kinase domain-containing receptor (KDR), which is also a receptor for VEGF. Treatment of the cell line BeWo with VEGF165 stimulated 3H-thymidine incorporation and tyrosine phosphorylation of MAP (mitogen-activated protein) kinase in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. This study is the first demonstration of the presence of flt on non-endothelial cells in vivo and suggests a role for VEGF in the growth and differentiation of cytotrophoblast at implantation.

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