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Placenta. 2012 Sep;33(9):696-703. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 Jun 17.

The role of interleukin-1β in human trophoblast motility.

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Department of Obstetrics and Fetal-Maternal Medicine, Reproductive Biology Unit, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


The pleiotropic cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) can promote physiological cell migration, as well as cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Its role in human trophoblast invasion, however, has not been satisfactorily answered since direct, indirect as well as no effects on trophoblast motility have been published. Therefore, the role of IL-1β has been re-evaluated by exclusively using human primary trophoblast model systems. Immunofluorescence of first trimester placentae indicated IL-1 receptor 1 (IL-1R1) protein expression in first trimester villous cytotrophoblasts (vCTB) and extravillous trophoblasts (EVT). The latter expressed higher mRNA levels of the receptor as shown by comparative gene chip data of vCTB and EVT. Similarly, Western blot analyses and immunofluorescence revealed a time- and differentiation-dependent increase of IL-1R1 in primary EVT seeded on fibronectin. IL-1β dose-dependently elevated migration of isolated first trimester EVT through fibronectin-coated transwells, which was inhibited in the presence of IL-1R antagonist (IL-1Ra), whereas proliferation of these cells was not affected. Similarly, the interleukin did not alter proliferation of vCTB and cell column trophoblasts in floating villi of early pregnancy, but promoted migration in villous explant cultures seeded on collagen I. Western blot analyses of supernatants of primary EVT and first trimester villous explant cultures revealed IL-1β induced secretion of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 and PAI-2, which was diminished upon combined IL-1β/IL-1Ra treatment. In conclusion, these data suggest that IL-1β directly promotes trophoblast motility of first trimester EVT involving the uPA/PAI system.

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