• Endovascular trophoblast;
  • HLA class I;
  • human first trimester placenta;
  • spiral arteries

PROBLEM: In human pregnancies, trophoblasts, in contrast to placental connective tissue and the fetus itself, come into direct contact with the maternal allorecognizing system at special sites. Villous syncytiotrophoblasts washed around by maternal blood lack HLA class I proteins, whereas extravillous trophoblasts, which deeply invade maternal uterine tissues, express high amounts of HLA-G and also HLA-C, the latter to a lesser degree, however. A subpopulation of extravillous trophoblasts, the endovascular trophoblast, enters maternal spiral artery lumen and, like syncytiotrophoblast, comes into direct contact with maternal blood. Less is known about HLA class I distribution on this endovascular trophoblast subpopulation.

METHOD OF STUDY: A comparative immununohistochemical analysis was done on decidual cryo-sections containing trophoblast-invaded spiral arteries using different anti-HLA class I monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and a peroxidase-labeled streptavidinbiotin detection system.

RESULTS: MAbs W6/32 (anti-HLA-A, -B, -C, -G), HCA2 (anti-HLA-A, -G) G233 and 87G (both anti-HLA-G) resulted in strong positivity on endovascular trophoblasts. L31 (anti-HLA-C) and HC10 (anti-HLA-B, -C) revealed clear positivity, whereas TÜ149 (anti-HLA-B, -C, some -A) produced a heterogeneous staining pattern, faintly positive on some endovascular trophoblastic cells and negative on others. MAb LA45 (anti-HLA-A, -B) did not bind to any endovascular trophoblast, neither did BFL.1 (anti-HLA-G) nor 16G1 (anti-HLA-G, soluble).

CONCLUSION: This study shows that trophoblastic cells belonging to the endovascular subpopulation express considerable amounts of HLA-G and slightly less HLA-C.