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Placenta. 2012 Mar;33(3):143-50. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2011.12.012. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

The characterization of fibrocyte-like cells: a novel fibroblastic cell of the placenta.

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Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2S2.


The placenta is a highly vascularized organ thus angiogenesis is a key process in placental development. The contribution that different cells in the villous stroma play in placental angiogenesis is largely unknown. In this study we identified a novel stromal cell type in sections of term placenta which is morphologically fibroblastic and expressing the fibroblast marker TE-7 but also positive for the monocytic markers CD115 and CD14 and designated these cells as fibrocyte-like cells. Populations of fibrocyte-like cells from the placenta were isolated by two methods: culture of adherence-selected placental cells and, for higher purity, by CD45 fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). Fibrocyte-like cell conditioned medium increased endothelial tubule-like structure formation 2-fold versus control medium. Both pro-angiogenic growth factors vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (b-FGF) and the anti-angiogenic factor soluble-Flt were found in the conditioned medium. Neutralizing antibodies against VEGF and b-FGF reduced endothelial cell tubule-like structures to control levels. These data suggests that fibrocyte-like cells, a previously unidentified cell of the villous stroma, may play an important role in the regulation of placental angiogenesis.

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