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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Jul;175(1):30-6.

Attachment and differentiation in vitro of trophoblast from normal and preeclamptic human placentas.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Katholiehe Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.



Trophoblast from preeclamptic patients shows impairment of various functions, including restricted invasive behavior of extravillous trophoblast. In this light the effect of different matrix components on attachment and differentiation of primary trophoblast cultures derived from normal and preeclamptic pregnancies was investigated.


Trophoblast was isolated from placentas of normotensive (n = 5) and preeclamptic patients (n = 5) and cultured up to 7 days on LabTek slides precoated with fibronectin, laminin, or vitronectin. Attachment was evaluated 24 hours after plating, the degree of syncytialization was evaluated, and slides were immunocytochemically stained for cytokeratin, vimentin, human chorionic gonadotropin, and human placental lactogen.


Trophoblast from placentas of preeclamptic patients showed a significantly lower attachment on fibronectin and vitronectin compared with controls. Diminished multinuclear cell formation was found on uncoated and laminin-coated slides in preeclamptic cases. No difference was found in the percentage of human chorionic gonadotropin- and human placental lactogen-positive cells between groups.


Lower trophoblast attachment on fibronectin and vitronectin was observed in preeclamptic pregnancies, which may reflect differences in expression of matrix receptors. Lower syncytialization of trophoblast in this group indicates an intrinsic defect in differentiation, but otherwise no differences were found in differentiation between normotensive and preeclamptic patients.

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