Placenta 2016 Aug;44:83-90
PubMed ID: 27452442
During pregnancy, the placenta ensures multiple functions, which are directly involved in the initiation, fetal growth and outcome of gestation. The placental tissue involved in maternal-fetal exchanges and in synthesis of pregnancy hormones is the mononucleated villous cytotrophoblast (VCT) which aggregates and fuses to form and renew the syncytiotrophoblast (ST). Knowledge of the gene expression pattern specific to this endocrine and exchanges tissue of human placenta is of major importance to understand functions of this heterogeneous and complex tissue. Therefore, we undertook a global analysis of the gene expression profiles of primary cultured-VCT (n = 6) and in vitro-differentiated-ST (n = 5) in comparison with whole term placental tissue from which mononucleated VCT were isolated. A total of 880 differentially expressed genes (DEG) were observed between VCT/ST compared to whole placenta, and a total of 37 and 137 genes were significantly up and down-regulated, respectively, in VCT compared to ST. The 37 VCT-genes were involved in cellular processes (assembly, organization, and maintenance), whereas the 137 ST-genes were associated with lipid metabolism and cell morphology. In silico, all networks were linked to 3 transcriptional regulators (PPARγ, RARα and NR2F1) which are known to be essential for trophoblast differentiation. A subset of six DEG was validated by RT-qPCR and four by immunohistochemistry. To conclude, recognition of these pathways is fundamental to increase our understanding of the molecular basis of human trophoblast differentiation. The present study provides for the first time a gene expression signature of the VCT and ST compared to their originated term human placental tissue.