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Vascular endothelial growth factor is a chemoattractant for trophoblast cells.

Lash G.E., Warren A.Y., Underwood S., Baker P.N.

A role for angiogenic growth factors in trophoblast invasion has been postulated. Directional motility (chemotaxis) is an important function of trophoblast cells. We have previously shown that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) increases the random movement of trophoblast cells although placental growth factor (PlGF) has no effect. Heparin inhibited this effect of VEGF. Motility of trophoblast cells has been proposed to be mediated by a nitric oxide (NO) pathway. We hypothesized that VEGF but not PlGF would be chemotactic for trophoblast cells. Chemotaxis of a first trimester extravillous trophoblast cell line, SGHPL-4, and primary isolates of first trimester and term trophoblast cells was measured using a Boyden chamber. Initial experiments to optimize the time of the experiment and identify a positive control were performed. Subsequent experiments ran for 20 h, used 0.5 per cent FBS or 10 ng/ml PDGF as negative and positive controls and were performed in triplicate. VEGF (1, 10 and 100 ng/ml+/-1 microg/ml heparin or +/-100 microM L-NAME) and PlGF (1, 10, 100 ng/ml) were tested. The chamber was placed in a 5 per cent CO(2) in air, 37 degrees C incubator. The number of cells in the lower chamber were counted. There was a dose dependent increase in chemotactic motility of the SGHPL-4 cell line and term trophoblast cells in response to VEGF. PlGF had no effect on the movement of the first trimester trophoblast cell line but did increase the motility of the term trophoblast cells in a dose dependent manner. Heparin increased the cellular motility of both cell types alone. It also further enhanced the chemoactivity of VEGF on the term trophoblast cells but not the cell line. L-NAME did not affect the VEGF-stimulated motility of the first trimester cell line. However, in the term trophoblast cells L-NAME increased the directional cellular motility in the absence of, or in the presence of low concentrations of VEGF. In conclusion, the first trimester and term trophoblast cells appeared to respond differently to the various factors tested in the present study that may reflect differential cellular function as gestation progresses.

Placenta 24:549-556(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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