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Live cell image analysis of cell-cell interactions reveals the specific targeting of vascular smooth muscle cells by fetal trophoblasts

By E. Hamzic, J.E. Cartwright, R.J. Keogh, G. St. J. Whitley, D. Greenhill and A. Hoppe


In early pregnancy, fetal trophoblasts selectively invade and remodel maternal spiral arteries. A healthy pregnancy is dependent on this adaptation to allow sufficient maternal blood to reach the placenta and the developing fetus. However, little is known of the role played by trophoblasts in this adaptation process. In this study, the interactions between trophoblast cells (TC) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) were examined using novel live cell image analysis methods which allow quantitative assessment of the behaviour of these two cell types in co-culture. TC and VSMC were simultaneously tracked in co-culture and, for each cell type, directionality, speed and the cell-cell interaction were assessed. The overall migratory behaviour of TC was markedly different in the presence of VSMC with co-cultured TC migrating further with directional movement while mono-cultured TC moved more randomly. Furthermore, TC were shown to specifically target VSMC, suggesting that invading TC may initiate targeted vascular remodelling. Analysis of movement behaviour and cell-cell attraction will be useful in other co-culture systems in addition to answering important questions in the reproductive field

Topics: biological
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.01.017
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