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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 243649, 10 pages
Research Article

HTR8/SVneo Cells Display Trophoblast Progenitor Cell-Like Characteristics Indicative of Self-Renewal, Repopulation Activity, and Expression of “Stemness-” Associated Transcription Factors

1Placenta-Lab, Department of Obstetrics, University Hospital Jena, Germany
2Abteilung für Geburtshilfe, Placenta-Labor, Universitätsklinikum Jena, Bachstr. 18, 07740 Jena, Germany

Received 27 October 2012; Revised 10 January 2013; Accepted 16 January 2013

Academic Editor: Irma Virant-Klun

Copyright © 2013 Maja Weber et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. JEG3 is a choriocarcinoma—and HTR8/SVneo a transformed extravillous trophoblast—cell line often used to model the physiologically invasive extravillous trophoblast. Past studies suggest that these cell lines possess some stem or progenitor cell characteristics. Aim was to study whether these cells fulfill minimum criteria used to identify stem-like (progenitor) cells. In summary, we found that the expression profile of HTR8/SVneo (CDX2+, NOTCH1+, SOX2+, NANOG+, and OCT-) is distinct from JEG3 (CDX2+ and NOTCH1+) as seen only in human-serum blocked immunocytochemistry. This correlates with HTR8/SVneo’s self-renewal capacities, as made visible via spheroid formation and multi-passagability in hanging drops protocols paralleling those used to maintain embryoid bodies. JEG3 displayed only low propensity to form and reform spheroids. HTR8/SVneo spheroids migrated to cover and seemingly repopulate human chorionic villi during confrontation cultures with placental explants in hanging drops. We conclude that HTR8/SVneo spheroid cells possess progenitor cell traits that are probably attained through corruption of “stemness-” associated transcription factor networks. Furthermore, trophoblastic cells are highly prone to unspecific binding, which is resistant to conventional blocking methods, but which can be alleviated through blockage with human serum.