Extracellular ATP decreases trophoblast invasion, spiral artery remodeling and immune cells in the mesometrial triangle in pregnant rats

F Spaans, B N Melgert, C Chiang, T Borghuis, P A Klok, P de Vos, H van Goor, W W Bakker, M M Faas
Placenta 2014, 35 (8): 587-95

INTRODUCTION: Preeclampsia is characterized by deficient trophoblast invasion and spiral artery remodeling, a process governed by inflammatory cells. High levels of the danger signal extracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) have been found in women with preeclampsia and infusion of ATP in pregnant rats induced preeclampsia-like symptoms such as albuminuria and placental ischemia. We hypothesized that ATP inhibits trophoblast invasion and spiral artery remodeling and affects macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells present in the rat mesometrial triangle.

METHODS: Pregnant rats were infused with ATP or saline (control) on day 14 of pregnancy. Rats were sacrificed on day 15, 17 or 20 of pregnancy and placentas with mesometrial triangle were collected. Sections were stained for trophoblast cells, α-smooth muscle actin (spiral artery remodeling), NK cells and various macrophage populations. Expression of various cytokines in the mesometrial triangle was analyzed using real-time RT-PCR.

RESULTS: ATP infusion decreased interstitial trophoblast invasion on day 17 and spiral artery remodeling on day 17 and 20, increased activated tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive macrophages on day 15, decreased NK cells on day 17 and 20, and decreased inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-positive and CD206-positive macrophages and TNF-α and IL-33 expression at the end of pregnancy (day 20).

DISCUSSION: Interstitial trophoblast invasion and spiral artery remodeling in the rat mesometrial triangle were decreased by infusion of ATP. These ATP-induced modifications were preceded by an increase in activated TRAP-positive macrophages and coincided with NK cell numbers, suggesting that they are involved.

CONCLUSION: Trophoblast invasion and spiral artery remodeling may be inhibited by ATP-induced activated macrophages and decreased NK cells in the mesometrial triangle in rat pregnancy.

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