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Placenta. 2006 Aug;27(8):882-8. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

Tracing the glycogen cells with protocadherin 12 during mouse placenta development.

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  • 1CEA-Grenoble, DRDC-DVE, Laboratoire de Développement et Vieillissement de l'Endothélium Inserm EMI-0219, Université J. Fourier EMI 02-19, 17 rue des Martyrs, 38054 Grenoble, Cedex 9, France.


Among the different trophoblast subtypes of the mouse placenta, the glycogen cells (GC) are one of the trophoblast subtypes that invade the decidua. We previously established that GC specifically expressed protocadherin 12 (PCDH12). In this paper, we investigated the origin of the PCDH12-positive cells and we characterized their fate in the maternal tissues. Our data indicate that they directly originate from the central part of the ectoplacental cone at embryonic day (E) 7.5. PCDH12-positive cells start to accumulate glycogen from E10.5 and the first migrating cells could be observed from this age. Unlike other placental and decidual cells, GC do not express P-cadherin, which may explain their migration properties in this organ. In the decidua, GC settle in the vicinity of the maternal vascular sinuses but do not incorporate in the endothelium. By the end of gestation (E17.5), most GC islets of the decidua enter into a lytic phase and form large lacunae. These lacunae, filled with glycogen, may provide a substantial source of energy at the end of gestation or during delivery. Our data suggest that spongiotrophoblasts and GC are two independent lineages and we bring insights into GC migration and fate.

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