Introduction: Placental dysfunction is an underlying cause of many major obstetric diseases and treatment options for complications like fetal growth restriction (FGR) are limited .We previously demonstrated nanoparticle delivery of the human insulin-like growth factor 1 (hIGF1) transgene under control of the trophoblast-specific PLAC1 promoter maintains normal fetal growth in a surgically-induced FGR mouse model. However, uptake by human placental syncytiotrophoblast has yet to be determined.
Methods: An ex vivo human placenta perfusion model, term placenta villous fragments, and other in vitro syncytiotrophoblast models were used to determine nanoparticle uptake, transgene expression, and functional responses under oxidative stress conditions.
Results: In the ex vivo perfusion, fluorescence from a Texas-Red conjugated nanoparticle increased in maternal perfusate upon nanoparticle addition and declined by the conclusion of the experiment (P < 0.001. Fluorescent histology confirmed localization in the syncytiotrophoblasts. No Texas-Red fluorescence was detected in the fetal perfusate. Transgene expression of hIGF1 in differentiated BeWo cells, isolated primary trophoblasts and fragments was increased compared to untreated (55,000-fold, P = 0.0003; 95-fold, P = 0.003; 400-fold, P < 0.001, respectively). Functionally, increased hIGF1 expression in villous fragments resulted in translocation of glucose transporter 1 to the syncytiotrophoblast cell membrane and under conditions of oxidative stress in BeWo cells, protected against increased cell death (P < 0.01) and decreased mitochondrial activity (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: The current study confirms that our nanoparticle is capable of uptake in human placental syncytium which results in enhanced transgene expression, functional changes to cellular activity and protection against increased oxidative stress.
Keywords: Fetal growth restriction; Insulin-like growth factor; Nanoparticle; Placenta; Placental dysfunction; Pregnancy; Therapy.
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