Trophoblast retrieval and isolation from the cervix: origins of cervical trophoblasts and their potential value for risk assessment of ongoing pregnancies.

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Trophoblast retrieval and isolation from the cervix: origins of cervical trophoblasts and their potential value for risk assessment of ongoing pregnancies.

Hum Reprod Update. 2018 Mar 28;:

Authors: Moser G, Drewlo S, Huppertz B, Armant DR

BACKGROUND: Early during human development, the trophoblast lineage differentiates to commence placentation. Where the placenta contacts the uterine decidua, extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells differentiate and invade maternal tissues. EVT cells, identified by expression of HLA-G, invade into uterine blood vessels (endovascular EVT), as well as glands (endoglandular EVT), and open such luminal structures towards the intervillous space of the placenta. Endoglandular invasion diverts the contents of uterine glands to the intervillous space, while glands near the margin of the placenta that also contain endoglandular EVT cells open into the reproductive tract. Cells of the trophoblast lineage have thus been recovered from the uterine cavity and endocervical canal. An emerging non-invasive technology [trophoblast retrieval and isolation from the cervix (TRIC)] isolates and examines EVT cells residing in the cervix to explore their origin, biology and relationship to pregnancy and fetal status.
OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE: This review explores the origins and possible uses of trophoblast cells obtained during ongoing pregnancies (weeks 5-20) by TRIC. We hypothesize that endoglandular EVT cells at the margins of the expanding placenta enter the uterine cavity and are carried together with uterine secretion products to the cervix where they can be retrieved from a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear. The advantages of TRIC for investigation of human placentation and prenatal testing will be considered. Evidence from the literature, and from archived in utero placental histological sections, is presented to support these hypotheses.
SEARCH METHODS: We used 52 out of 80 publications that appeared between 1966 and 2017 and were found by searching the PubMed and Google Scholar databases. The studies described trophoblast invasion of uterine vessels and glands, as well as trophoblast cells residing in the reproductive tract. This was supplemented with literature on human placental health and disease.
OUTCOMES: The literature describes a variety of invasive routes taken by EVT cells at the fetal-maternal interface that could displace them into the reproductive tract. Since the 1970s, investigators have attempted to recover trophoblast cells from the uterus or cervix for prenatal diagnostics. Trophoblast cells from Pap smears obtained at 5-20 weeks of gestation have been purified (>95% β-hCG positive) by immunomagnetic isolation with nanoparticles linked to anti-HLA-G (TRIC). The isolated cells contain the fetal genome, and have an EVT-like expression profile. Similar EVT-like cells appear in the lumen of uterine glands and can be observed entering the uterine cavity along the margins of the placenta, suggesting that they are the primary source of cervical trophoblast cells. Cells isolated by TRIC can be used to accurately genotype the embryo/fetus by targeted next-generation sequencing. Biomarker protein expression quantified in cervical trophoblast cells after TRIC correlates with subsequent pregnancy loss, pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction. A key remaining question is the degree to which EVT cells in the cervix might differ from those in the basal plate and placental bed.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS: TRIC could one day provide a method of risk assessment for maternal and fetal disease, and reveal molecular pathways disrupted during the first trimester in EVT cells associated with placental maldevelopment. As perinatal interventions emerge for pregnancy disorders and inherited congenital disorders, TRIC could provide a key diagnostic tool for personalized precision medicine in obstetrics.

PMID: 29608700 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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