Send to

Choose Destination
Placenta. 2003 Jul;24(6):627-37.

The effect of oxygen tension on intracellular survival signalling in primary villous trophoblasts.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Physiology, Perinatal Research Centre, University of Alberta, AB, Edmonton, Canada.


Villous trophoblasts undergo increased apoptosis and experience a wider gradient of oxygen tensions (pO(2)) in pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction. We hypothesize that pO(2)affects trophoblast apoptosis by altering survival signalling through the phosphatidylinositol-3 (PI-3)-kinase and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. Cytotrophoblasts were cultured at pO(2)from <10 to approximately 140 mmHg with Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and basic Fibroblast Growth Factor (bFGF) at concentrations of 0.1 to 10 ng/ml for 1 to 12 h, then assessed for apoptosis (TUNEL) and specific protein expressions (Western blot analysis). Spontaneous apoptosis was highest at <10 mmHg and lowest approximately 15 mmHg. Only EGF activated either signalling pathway at any pO(2). Inhibition of both pathways was required to inhibit EGF-stimulated survival. Maximal EGF activation of either pathway was insensitive to pO(2). At lower oxygen tensions, MAPK phosphorylation was maximal at 1 ng/ml EGF compared with 10 ng/ml for the PI-3-kinase path. The EGF receptor was spontaneously phosphorylated with increasing culture times at lower oxygen levels, an effect reflected down-stream by PI-3-kinase and Akt phosphorylation. We conclude that strong survival signalling in trophoblasts requires both PI-3- and MAP-kinase pathways, is rather insensitive to pO(2)changes and is spontaneously activated with increasing hypoxic exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center