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J Cell Physiol. 1988 Sep;136(3):455-62.

Normal nonmetastatic human trophoblast cells share in vitro invasive properties of malignant cells.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


First-trimester normal human trophoblast cells show some phenotypic similarities to malignant cells, e.g., rapid proliferation and ability to invade neighboring tissue, including basement membrane in situ, but do not have the ability for unlimited growth or metastasis. The present study examined whether the invasive ability of normal trophoblast cells is an intrinsic property of these cells, independent of the microenvironment provided by the pregnant uterus, and if so, whether they share some of the molecular mechanisms of invasion exercized by metastatic malignant cells. The ability of in vitro grown human trophoblast lines to invade an epithelium-free human amniotic membrane was measured from the temporal kinetics of retention of radioactivity within this membrane resulting from a penetration by 125I-iododeoxyuridine-labeled trophoblast cells. The magnitude of this invasion was compared to that of the highly metastatic human JAR-choriocarcinoma cell line and murine B16F10 melanoma line. Trophoblasts were found to share some of the same molecular mechanisms of invasion with the metastatic cell lines. Inhibitors of collagenase, plasmin, plasminogen, and plasminogen activators completely prevented invasion of the amnion by the trophoblast lines as well as by the metastatic JAR and B16F10 lines. Mersalyl, a compound known to activate collagenase, stimulated invasion by all cell lines tested, including under conditions in which plasmin activity was inhibited. In addition, trophoblasts produced significant levels of type IV collagenase and laminin, both of which appear to be important products of metastatic tumor cells required for basement membrane invasion. It may be concluded from these findings that the invasive property of first trimester human trophoblasts is genetically determined; that the magnitude of amnion invasion cannot differentiate between metastatic cell lines and invasive but nonmetastatic cell lines; and that invasiveness is not a sufficient prerequisite for metastatic ability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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