Aims: Two-thirds of early pregnancy failures present with reduced trophoblast invasion, and SLIT2/ROBO1 signalling is considered to play an important role in trophoblast function during pregnancy. We investigated SLIT2/ROBO1 signalling associated with missed and threatened miscarriage during early gestation.
Methods and results: Human placenta samples were collected from women with missed miscarriage (n = 25), threatened miscarriage (n = 22) and termination of pregnancy controls (n = 32). Corresponding decreases in beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (β-hCG) levels and shallow trophoblast invasion were observed in patients with missed and threatened miscarriage, immunohistological staining revealed abnormal Slit2 and Robo1, as well as E-cadherin and activating protein-2 alpha (AP-2α) expression in villi and extravillous trophoblasts, and the expression of these proteins were confirmed in villi and decidua of miscarriage material by Western blotting. Using HTR8/SVneo cells, blocking SLIT2/ROBO1 signalling promoted cell migration, proliferation and suppressed differentiation. Moreover, blocking SLIT2/ROBO1 signalling in HTR8/SVneo cells altered trophoblast differentiation-related and angiogenesis-related gene mRNA expression, which also occurred in the tissues of missed and threatened miscarriage.
Conclusions: SLIT2/ROBO1 signalling may regulate trophoblast differentiation and invasion causing restricting β-hCG production, shallow trophoblast invasion and inhibiting placental angiogenesis in missed and threatened miscarriage during the first trimester.
Keywords: differentiation; invasion; miscarriage; trophoblast.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.