Indexed on: 01 Mar '05Published on: 01 Mar '05Published in: European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
The development of the chorionic villous tree into a complex and organized ramified tubular network can be termed branching morphogenesis. Studying the molecular mechanisms involved in this process may contribute to the understanding of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia. We hypothesized that fibroblast growth factor-10 (FGF-10) and fibroblast growth factor receptors 1-4 (FGFR 1-4) are expressed in human decidual and placental tissues. We analyzed the expression of FGF-10 and FGFRs 1-4 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimester placentas, as well as in decidua. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were employed to study mRNA and protein expression. FGF-10 was expressed by decidual cells and by cytotrophoblasts of the cytotrophoblast columns during all three trimesters. FGFR 1-4 were expressed in the placenta but not in the decidua. Placental expression of FGFRs was temporally regulated: In 1st trimester placentas, FGFR 1-4 were expressed by Hofbauer cells, FGFR-1 and FGFR-4 were expressed in cytotrophoblast columns, and the latter was also expressed by syncytiotrophoblasts. Similar expression was seen in 2nd trimester placentas with additional expression of FGFR-1 in blood vessel walls. The expression of FGFR-1 and FGFR-4 in the 3rd trimester was comparable to that seen in the 2nd trimester. The expression of FGF-10, FGFR-1 and FGFR-4 in the maternal-fetal interphase suggests their role in decidual-trophoblast interaction. The abundance of FGFR expression in Hofbauer cells implies that mesenchymal-trophoblast interaction is important for regulation of villous development.