Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 124, Issue 6, pp 499–506

E-cadherin in the assessment of aberrant placental cytotrophoblast turnover in pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia

  • L. M. Brown
  • H. A. Lacey
  • P. N. Baker
  • I. P. Crocker
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00418-005-0051-7

Cite this article as:
Brown, L., Lacey, H., Baker, P. et al. Histochem Cell Biol (2005) 124: 499. doi:10.1007/s00418-005-0051-7

Abstract

E-cadherin is a cell–cell adhesion protein expressed in cytotrophoblasts, which is lost as they differentiate and syncytialise. We have exploited E-cadherin as a marker of cytotrophoblasts to investigate villous tissue composition in first and third trimester placentae, both in normal pregnancy and pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia. We have achieved this by measuring expression levels of E-cadherin at the mRNA level, using Q-PCR, and at the protein level using semi-quantitative Western blotting. We have also combined E-cadherin immunohistochemistry with morphometric analysis of area measurements to define cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast compartments. This novel use of E-cadherin has revealed a decrease in the proportion of cytotrophoblasts in villous tissue as pregnancy progresses, in the absence of changes in syncytiotrophoblast cover. Moreover, in pre-eclampsia, placental E-cadherin was raised compared to syncytiotrophoblast, suggesting either exaggerated cytotrophoblast proliferation or impaired cytotrophoblast differentiation, both alterations of potential pathogenic importance.

Keywords

PlacentaPre-eclampsiaCytotrophoblastsE-cadherinMorphometry

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. M. Brown
    • 1
  • H. A. Lacey
    • 1
  • P. N. Baker
    • 1
  • I. P. Crocker
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Human Development, St Mary’s Hospital, School of MedicineUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK