Vascular abnormalities in the placenta of Chst14-/- fetuses: implications in the pathophysiology of perinatal lethality of the murine model and vascular lesions in human CHST14/D4ST1 deficiency

Glycobiology. 2018 Feb 1;28(2):80-89. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwx099.


Collagen is one of the most important components of the extracellular matrix that is involved in the strength of tissues, cell adhesion and cell proliferation. Mutations in several collagen and post-translational modification enzyme genes cause Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) characterized by joint and skin hyperextensibility as well as fragility of various organs. Carbohydrate sulfotransferase 14/dermatan 4-O-sulfotransferase-1 (CHST14/D4ST1) is a critical enzyme for biosynthesis of dermatan sulfate, a side chain of various proteoglycans including biglycan that regulates collagen fibrils through their interaction. Mutations in CHST14 were found to cause a new form of EDS, named musculocontractural type EDS (mcEDS-CHST14). Large subcutaneous hematomas are one of the most serious complications accompanied by decreased quality of life and potential lethality. In this study, Chst14 gene-deleted mice were expected to be an animal model of the vascular abnormalities of mcEDS-CHST14. However, only limited numbers of adult mice were generated because of perinatal lethality in most Chst14 gene-deleted homozygote (Chst14-/-) mice. Therefore, we investigated the placentas of these fetuses. The placentas of Chst14-/- fetuses showed a reduced weight, alterations in the vascular structure, and ischemic and/or necrotic-like changes. Electron microscopy demonstrated an abnormal structure of the basement membrane of capillaries in the placental villus. These findings suggest that Chst14 is essential for placental vascular development and perinatal survival of fetuses. Furthermore, placentas of Chst14-/- fetuses could be a useful model for vascular manifestations in mcEDS-CHST14, such as the large subcutaneous hematomas.

Keywords: Ehlers–Danlos syndrome; carbohydrate sulfotransferase 14 (Chst14); dermatan 4-O-sulfotransferase-1 (D4ST1); placenta; vascular abnormality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / genetics*
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / metabolism
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / pathology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Placenta / blood supply
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Placenta / pathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics*
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism


  • Collagen
  • Sulfotransferases
  • dermatan-4-sulfotransferase-1