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Analysis of cell motility and the cell-cell interaction between vascular smooth muscle cells and fetal trophoblasts in the process of spral artery remodelling

By Edita Hamzic


This project was set up by Digital Imaging Research Centre (DIRC) at Kingston University in conjunction with the Reproductive and Cardiovascular Research Group in St. George's, University of London. The St. George's research group is interested in research involving trophoblast cell migration and their role in spiral artery remodelling during human pregnancy. During the first trimester of human pregnancy the population of specialized fetal cells of the placenta, trophoblast cells (TC), invades the maternal spiral arteries which regulate blood flow from the mother to the fetus. In normal pregnancies trophoblast cells migrate from the placenta to the spiral arteries where, after penetrating the artery walls, they remove the vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) by inducing cell apoptosis. Disappearance of normal muscular and elastic structure results in remodelled and dilated arteries and increased maternal blood flow to the fetus. This study aims to examine the motility and interaction between TC and VSMC in a series of time-lapse phase contrast images obtained from co-culture experiments involving these cells. A novel live cell image processing and analysis method developed in conjunction with the DIRC team is employed in this study to allow quantitative analysis of movement behaviour of two co-cultured cell populations in relation to each other. TC and VSMC are simultaneously tracked and for each cell population motility parameters such as cell directionality, cell velocity and distance travelled by cells were calculated. The results show that the overall migratory behaviour of TC is markedly different within mono-cultured and co-cultured conditions and that the presence of VSMC has a significant influence on this behaviour. Co-cultured TC migrate further and exhibit directional movement towards VSMC while mono-cultured TC travel shorter distances and move more randomly. This suggests that in spiral artery remodelling VSMC loss is a result of invading TC moving directionally towards VSMC

Topics: health
Publisher: Kingston University
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