Up-regulated cytotrophoblast DOCK4 contributes to over-invasion in placenta accreta spectrum


Journal Article

In humans, a subset of placental cytotrophoblasts (CTBs) invades the uterus and its vasculature, anchoring the pregnancy and ensuring adequate blood flow to the fetus. Appropriate depth is critical. Shallow invasion increases the risk of pregnancy complications, e.g., severe preeclampsia. Overly deep invasion, the hallmark of placenta accreta spectrum (PAS), increases the risk of preterm delivery, hemorrhage, and death. Previously a rare condition, the incidence of PAS has increased to 1:731 pregnancies, likely due to the rise in uterine surgeries (e.g., Cesarean sections). CTBs track along scars deep into the myometrium and beyond. Here we compared the global gene expression patterns of CTBs from PAS cases to gestational age-matched control cells that invaded to the normal depth from preterm birth (PTB) deliveries. The messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding the guanine nucleotide exchange factor,DOCK4, mutations of which promote cancer cell invasion and angiogenesis, was the most highly up-regulated molecule in PAS samples. Overexpression ofDOCK4increased CTB invasiveness, consistent with the PAS phenotype. Also, this analysis identified other genes with significantly altered expression in this disorder, potential biomarkers. These data suggest that CTBs from PAS cases up-regulate a cancer-like proinvasion mechanism, suggesting molecular as well as phenotypic similarities in the two pathologies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McNally, L; Zhou, Y; Robinson, JF; Zhao, G; Chen, L-M; Chen, H; Kim, MY; Kapidzic, M; Gormley, M; Hannibal, R; Fisher, SJ

Published Date

  • July 7, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 117 / 27

Start / End Page

  • 15852 - 15861

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.1920776117


  • en