Extravillous trophoblasts invade the uterine wall (interstitial invasion) and the spiral arteries (endovascular invasion), replacing the cells of the vessel wall and creating a high-flow low-resistance vessel. We have developed a novel model to allow the interactions between the invading trophoblast cells and the cells of the spiral artery to be directly examined. Unmodified (non-placental bed) spiral arteries were obtained from uterine biopsies at caesarean section. Fluorescently labelled trophoblasts were seeded on top of artery segments embedded in fibrin gels (to study interstitial invasion) or perfused into the lumen of arteries mounted on a pressure myograph (to study endovascular invasion). Trophoblasts were incubated with the vessels for 3-5 days prior to cryo-sectioning. Both interstitial and endovascular interactions/invasion could clearly be detected and a comparison of the extravillous trophoblast cell line, SGHPL-4 and primary first trimester cytotrophoblasts showed both to be invasive in this model. This novel method will prove useful in an area where in vitro studies have been hampered by the lack of suitable models directly examining cellular interactions during invasion.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.