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Jeschke, U.; Gundel, G.; Müller, H.; Richter, D.-U.; Streu, A.; Briese, V.; Mylonas, I.; Friese, K.; Unverzagt, C. (2004): N-glycans of human amniotic fluid transferrin stimulate progesterone production in human first trimester trophoblast cells in vitro. In: Journal of Perinatal Medicine, Vol. 32, No. 3: pp. 248-253


Aims: During pregnancy, the placenta produces a variety of steroid hormones and proteins. Several of these substances have been shown to exert immunomodulatory effects. Progesterone is thought to mediate some of these effects by regulating uterine responsiveness. The aim of this study was to clarify the effect of amniotic fluid transferrin and its N-glycans on the release of progesterone by first trimester trophoblast cells in vitro. Methods: Cytotrophoblast cells were prepared from human first trimester placentae by trypsin-DNAse dispersion of villous tissue followed by a percoll gradient centrifugation and depletion of CD45 positive cells by magnetic cell sorting. Trophoblasts were incubated with varying concentrations (50-300 mug/ml) of transferrin from human amniotic fluid and serum as well as with N-glycans obtained from amniotic fluid transferrin. Culture supernatants were assayed for progesterone by enzyme-immunometric methods. Results: The release of progesterone increased in amniotic fluid transferrin- and N-glycan-treated trophoblast cell cultures compared to untreated trophoblast cells. There was no stimulating effect of serum transferrin on the progesterone production of trophoblast cells. Conclusions: The results suggest that amnion-transferrin and especially its N-glycans modulate the endocrine function of trophoblasts in culture by up regulating progesterone secretion.