Isolation and characterization of trophoblast from murine placenta

F. A. Zuckermann, J. R. Head

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A discontinuous density gradient centrifugation method, devised to isolate enriched populations of trophoblast from murine definitive placentae, is described. It is concluded that the isolated adherent cells are trophoblast on the basis of the following characteristics: they are (1) fetally derived, as determined by their donor glucose phosphate isomerase phenotype in embryo transfer experiments; (2) epithelial cells, as shown by the presence of cytokeratin filaments and the absence of vimentin; (3) negative for the stage-specific embryonic antigen-1 (SSEA-1); and (4) capable of progesterone secretion. Initially, they grew as individual polygonal cells, tending to form tight confluent monolayers with poorly defined intercellular boundaries. They were mono- or binucleate and increased their nuclear size with time. After two days, giant cells appeared to be formed from binucleated cells by nuclear fusion, and multinucleated cells appeared forming syncytia. Some of these cells also seemed to form giant cells. A low percentage (1 to 10 per cent) of contaminating cells, mainly macrophage-like cells, was observed. The isolated cells were a mixture of alkaline phosphatase- (AP-)positive and AP-negative cells, with some of the latter having phagocytic capacity. All were Fc receptor-negative. The possible identity of these cells in relation to trophoblast in the intact placenta is discussed. This method of isolating and characterizing trophoblast cells from the definitive mouse placenta will be a useful tool for studying the biology and immunology of trophoblast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-364
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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