Who Let the Dogs In: A Canine Trophoblast Invasion Model for Pre-eclampsia


Author's address (for correspondence): M Kutzler, 112 Withycombe Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA. E-mail: michelle.kutzler@oregonstate.edu


Pre-eclampsia affects 2–8% of pregnant women worldwide and is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in the United States, accounting for 20% of maternal deaths, for which the only known cure is delivery of the placenta. It is known that pre-eclampsia results from defects within the trophoblast invasion of the endometrium and myometrium. At a morphological level within the pre-eclamptic human placenta, trophoblast invasion is shallow, and this results in hypoperfusion, which is a life-threatening condition for both the mother and the foetus. Pre-eclampsia has been intensively investigated for over 50 years, and yet the causes are largely unknown. Despite a large body of data, it is still unknown exactly which mechanisms regulate trophoblast invasion. An effective animal model may be crucial to understanding the underlying causes of pre-eclampsia. A canine model is a proposed improvement on the current efforts to investigate disorders of shallow trophoblast invasion throughout gestation and to improve understanding of the factors that regulate trophoblast invasion. The objectives of this research were to elucidate and compare cellular and molecular similarities between normal canine trophoblasts with those from recently published reports on pre-eclampsia in women.