Defective placentation is the underlying cause of various pregnancy complications, such as severe intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia. However, studies on human placental development are hampered by the lack of a self-renewing in vitro model that would recapitulate formation of trophoblast progenitors and differentiated subtypes, syncytiotrophoblast (STB) and invasive extravillous trophoblast (EVT), in a 3D orientation. Hence, we established long-term expanding organoid cultures from purified first-trimester cytotrophoblasts (CTBs). Molecular analyses revealed that the CTB organoid cultures (CTB-ORGs) express markers of trophoblast stemness and proliferation and are highly similar to primary CTBs at the level of global gene expression. Whereas CTB-ORGs spontaneously generated STBs, withdrawal of factors for self-renewal induced trophoblast outgrowth, expressing the EVT progenitor marker NOTCH1, and provoked formation of adjacent, distally located HLA-G+ EVTs. In summary, we established human CTB-ORGs that grow and differentiate under defined culture conditions, allowing future human placental disease modeling.
Keywords: Wnt signalling; cell fusion; cytotrophoblast organoids; differentiation; extravillous trophoblast lineage; human placenta; self-renewal.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.