A novel model of human implantation: 3D endometrium-like culture system to study attachment of human trophoblast (Jar) cell spheroids

Mol Hum Reprod. 2012 Jan;18(1):33-43. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gar064. Epub 2011 Oct 11.


There is an urgent need to develop optimized experimental models to examine human implantation. These studies aimed to (i) establish a human endometrium-like three-dimensional (3D) culture system, and (ii) examine the attachment of trophoblast-like Jar spheroids to the culture. In the present work, 3D endometrial cultures were constructed with fibrin-agarose as matrix scaffold, and using epithelial and stromal cells from both human primary cultures and established cell lines. An attachment assay between trophoblast cells and the 3D culture was developed. Epithelial cells (cytokeratin(+)) concentrated on top of the matrix forming a monolayer, and stromal cells (vimentin(+)) resided within the matrix, resembling the normal endometrial structure. The capability of primary epithelial cells to form glands spontaneously was observed. Human trophoblast cells (Jar cells) were hCG(+) by immunostaining, allowed to form spheroids, and confirmed to secrete hCG into the medium. Time-dependent experiments demonstrated a high rate of attachment of Jar spheroids to the epithelium, and adhesion was strongly related to the various cell types present in the 3D culture. An architecturally and functionally competent 3D endometrial culture system was established, that coupled with Jar spheroids mimicking trophoblast cells, provides a unique in vitro model for the study of certain aspects of human implantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / metabolism
  • Embryo Implantation / physiology*
  • Endometrium / cytology*
  • Endometrium / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Prolactin / metabolism
  • Spheroids, Cellular / cytology
  • Spheroids, Cellular / physiology*
  • Trophoblasts / cytology
  • Trophoblasts / physiology*


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Prolactin