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Placenta. 2005 Apr;26 Suppl A:S37-41.

Trophoblast invasion: tuning through LIF, signalling via Stat3.

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  • 1Placenta-Laboratory, Department of Obstetrics, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Bachstrasse 18, 07740 Jena, Germany.


Aberrant activity of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) is believed to be essential for neoplastic cell behaviour and thus for the malignancy of tumor cells [Bowman T, Garcia R, Turkson J, Jove R. STATs in oncogenesis. Oncogene 2000;19:2474-88]. Extravillous trophoblast cells resemble malignancies in their invasive and destructive features, excluding the fact of sequential restriction to the first trimester of pregnancy. Trophoblast cells from term placentas have reduced invasive capacity [Hohn HP, Denker HW. Experimental modulation of cell-cell adhesion, invasiveness and differentiation in trophoblast cells. Cells Tissues Organs 2002;172:218-36]. Constitutively activated Stat3 DNA-binding activity in choriocarcinoma cells, carcinomatous derivates of trophoblast cells, have been reported to correlate with its invasiveness [Corvinus FM, Fitzgerald JS, Friedrich K, Markert UR. Evidence for a correlation between trophoblast invasiveness and STAT3 activity. Am J Reprod Immunol 2003;50:316-21]. Here we demonstrate using RNAi that Stat3 activation is necessary in the invasive phenotype of trophoblast cells and can be controlled via Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF). LIF provides a soluble extracellular signal that stimulates invasion in trophoblast and Jeg-3 choriocarcinoma cells. Loss of LIF-mediated invasion in these cells subsequent to STAT3 knock-down strongly suggests that STAT3 plays a crucial role in mediating this invasion.

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