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ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Trophoblasts and Shear Stress Induce an Asymmetric Distribution of ICAM-1 in Uterine Endothelial Cells


Dr G. C. Douglas, Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, Tupper Hall, One Shields Ave, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Problem  We have used an in vitro co-culture system consisting of early gestation macaque trophoblasts cultured on top of human uterine microvascular endothelial cells (UtMVECs) to investigate the inflammatory response of endothelial cells to trophoblasts under shear stress conditions.

Method of study  Uterine microvascular endothelial cells and trophoblasts were co-cultured in a parallel plate chamber under shear stress (15 dyn/cm2) conditions. The distribution and expression of endothelial intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) was quantified by immunofluorescence image analysis and flow cytometry. Endothelial regulated upon activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) secretion was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and permeability was assessed using fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran.

Results  Intercellular adhesion molecule-1, but not vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 or platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, was re-distributed towards the downstream edge of endothelial cells when the cells were co-cultured with trophoblasts under shear stress conditions. Changes in ICAM-1 distribution were also observed when UtMVECs were co-cultured with trophoblast-conditioned medium under shear stress conditions. Incubation of UtMVECs with trophoblast-conditioned medium increased endothelial permeability, RANTES secretion, and trophoblast adhesion.

Conclusion  These data support the idea that trophoblasts induce an inflammatory response in uterine endothelial cells that could enhance trophoblast invasion and transmigration.