Primary Cilia in Trophoblastic Cells Potential Involvement in Preeclampsia

Ritter, A; Roth, S; Kreis, NN; Friemel, A; Hoock, SC; Souto, AS; Eichbaum, C; Neuhoff, A; Chen, Q; Solbach, C; Louwen, F; Yuan, JP

Ritter, A; Yuan, JP (corresponding author), Goethe Univ Frankfurt, Sch Med, Dept Gynecol & Obstet, Div Obstet & Prenatal Med, Theodor Stern Kai 7, D-60590 Frankfurt, Germany.

HYPERTENSION, 2020; 76 (5): 1491


The pathogenesis of preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related disease, is not completely understood. The primary cilium transduces a diverse array of signaling pathways important for vital cellular activities. Primary cilia were reported to facilitate trophoblastic cell invasion. We hypothesized their further functions in trophoblasts and were interested in related molecular mechanisms. We systematically examined the presence, length and percentage of the primary cilium, its mediated signal transduction, and its connection to trophoblast function. Various cellular and molecular methods were used including immunofluorescence staining, spheroid formation, gene analysis, invasion and tube formation assays with trophoblastic cell lines, primary trophoblasts, and placental tissues. We show that primary cilia are present in various trophoblastic cell lines derived from first trimester placentas. Cilia are also observable in primary trophoblasts, though in a small quantity. Importantly, primary cilia are shortened in trophoblastic cells derived from preeclamptic placentas. Mechanistically, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha or sera from patients with preeclampsia are able to reduce the length of primary cilia and impair the important sonic hedgehog signaling pathway. Functionally, trophoblastic cells with defective cilia display severe failures in their key functions, like migration, invasion and tube formation, also observed in trophoblastic cells depleted of the intraflagellar transport protein 88. This is accompanied by reduced gene expression of matrix metallopeptidases, vascular endothelial growth factor, and placental growth factor. This work highlights the significance of primary cilia in the functions of trophoblastic cells. Dysfunctional cilia may lead to compromised migration, invasion, and endothelial remodeling of trophoblastic cells, contributing to the development of preeclampsia.

Download PDF

Full Text Link