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Here and there a trophoblast, a transcriptional evaluation of trophoblast cell models

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A recent explosion of methods to produce human trophoblast and stem cells (hTSCs) is fuelling a renewed interest in this tissue. The trophoblast is critical to reproduction by facilitating implantation, maternal physiological adaptations to pregnancy and the growth of the fetus through transport of nutrients between the mother and fetus. More broadly, the trophoblast has phenotypic properties that make it of interest to other fields. Its angiogenic and invasive properties are similar to tumours and could identify novel drug targets, and its ability to regulate immunological tolerance of the allogenic fetus could lead to improvements in transplantations. Within this review, we integrate and assess transcriptomic data of cell-based models of hTSC alongside in vivo samples to identify the utility and applicability of these models. We also integrate single-cell RNA sequencing data sets of human blastoids, stem cells and embryos to identify how these models may recapitulate early trophoblast development.

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Please see Supplemental Tables 1 and 2 for lists of accession IDs for data sets and specific samples used in this analysis.


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The authors thank Dr. Frances Wong for assistance with the integration of processing RNA sequencing data.


BC is supported in part by a Tier II Canada Research Chair in maternal–fetal medicine. KN was supported in part by the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Fund from the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto.

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BC conceived the project. KN and BC analyzed data, generated figures and tables and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Brian J. Cox.

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Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 Supplemental Table 1. List of all studies used in the analysis (CSV 0 KB)

Supplementary file2 Supplemental Table 2. List of all samples used in the analysis (XLSX 22 KB)


Supplementary file3 Supplemental Table 3. Enrichment Map Ontologies for terminal clusters 0, 2, 3 and 5. Ontologies are based on the word frequency of nodes with significant overlap in gene members. All nodes were significant at an FDR corrected p-values of <0.1 (XLSX 12 KB)

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Cox, B.J., Naismith, K. Here and there a trophoblast, a transcriptional evaluation of trophoblast cell models. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 79, 584 (2022).

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