Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49: 977 - 980 (2005)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.051993ja
© UBC Press

A simple in vivo approach to investigate invasive trophoblast cells

Juan A. Arroyo, Toshihiro Konno, Darya C. Khalili and Michael J. Soares*

Institute of Maternal-Fetal Biology, Division of Cancer & Developmental Biology, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, USA

ABSTRACT Intrauterine trophoblast cell invasion is an essential part of hemochorial placentation. Aberrant trophoblast cell invasion has been associated with pathologies including preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. In this study, we describe an in vivo method to assess trophoblast cell invasion using a transgenic rat model, constitutively expressing heat stable human placental alkaline phosphatase (Rosa 26 promoter driven human placental alkaline phosphatase, R26-hAP). Wild-type female Fischer 344 inbred rats were mated with hemizygous R26-hAP transgenic male Fischer 344 rats and sacrificed during the second half of pregnancy. Heat stable alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity associated with the invasive transgenic trophoblast cells was monitored in the wild-type uterine mesometrial compartment and used as an index of trophoblast cell invasion. The expression pattern of cytokeratins by invasive trophoblast cells mimicked the uterine mesometrial distribution of AP activity. Trophoblast cell invasion exhibited a gestation-dependent profile with peak invasion between days 18-20 of pregnancy. In summary, we have devised a simple in vivo method for assessing intrauterine trophoblast cell invasion. This technique should facilitate the discovery of endogenous regulatory mechanisms controlling trophoblast cell invasion and should represent an effective method of testing the impact of various environmental stressors on an essential part of hemochorial placentation.

Keywords:

trophoblast invasion, placentation, metrial gland, rat pregnancy

*Corresponding author e-mail: msoares@kumc.edu