Differentiation of the human placental trophoblast cell involves a multistep process, with the generation of several distinct types of intermediate cytotrophoblast cells. Using a short term in vitro cell culture system and centrifugal elutriation, we studied the isolation and morphological and biochemical differentiation of these separated intermediate cell populations. Freshly isolated cell fractions, incubated for 24 h, are heterogeneous in their differentiation stages as determined by the secretion of the proteins chorionic gonadotropin alpha and beta, human placental lactogen, and pregnancy specific beta 1-glycoprotein. Maintenance in cell culture allows for the further differentiation of these intermediate cells and for syncytium formation. With the use of sequential trypsinizations, our data also suggest the parallel differentiation of cytotrophoblast cells into two distinct subsets: one which, through differentiation, gets committed to syncytium formation, and the other, which remains mononuclear despite high degrees of biochemical differentiation. These latter cells retain the capacity for syncytium formation when reintroduced into appropriate culture conditions. These findings refine the use of the term "intermediate cell" by previous investigators. We suggest that our in vitro system defines normal intermediate stages of trophoblast differentiation, and also serves as a model to simulate adverse conditions of syncytial degeneration or injury.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Molecular Cancer Research|
|State||Published - May 1993|