Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 2007 Apr 15;304(2):567-78. Epub 2007 Jan 10.

Diverse subtypes and developmental origins of trophoblast giant cells in the mouse placenta.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, and Department of Human Genetics, Montreal Children's Hospital Research Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Trophoblast giant cells (TGCs) are the first terminally differentiated subtype to form in the trophoblast cell lineage in rodents. In addition to mediating implantation, they are the main endocrine cells of the placenta, producing several hormones which regulate the maternal endocrine and immune systems and promote maternal blood flow to the implantation site. Generally considered a homogeneous population, TGCs have been identified by their expression of genes encoding placental lactogen 1 or proliferin. In the present study, we have identified a number of TGC subtypes, based on morphology and molecular criteria and demonstrated a previously underappreciated diversity of TGCs. In addition to TGCs that surround the implantation site and form the interface with the maternal deciduas, we demonstrate at least three other unique TGC subtypes: spiral artery-associated TGCs, maternal blood canal-associated TGCs and a TGC within the sinusoidal spaces of the labyrinth layer of the placenta. All four TGC subtypes could be identified based on the expression patterns of four genes: Pl1, Pl2, Plf (encoded by genes of the prolactin/prolactin-like protein/placental lactogen gene locus), and Ctsq (from a placental-specific cathepsin gene locus). Each of these subtypes was detected in differentiated trophoblast stem cell cultures and can be differentially regulated; treatment with retinoic acid induces Pl1/Plf+ TGCs preferentially. Furthermore, cell lineage tracing studies indicated unique origins for different TGC subtypes, in contrast with previous suggestions that secondary TGCs all arise from Tpbpa+ ectoplacental cone precursors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center