Trophoblast–endothelium signaling involves angiogenesis and apoptosis in a dynamic bioprinted placenta model

Biotechnology and Bioengineering 2018 Volume 116, Issue 1, Pages 181-192

Trophoblast invasion and remodeling of the maternal spiral arteries are required for pregnancy success. Aberrant endothelium–trophoblast crosstalk may lead to preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that has serious effects on both the mother and the baby. However, our understanding of the mechanisms involved in this pathology remains elementary because the current in vitro models cannot describe trophoblast–endothelium interactions under dynamic culture. In this study, we developed a dynamic three‐dimensional (3D) placenta model by bioprinting trophoblasts and an endothelialized lumen in a perfusion bioreactor. We found the 3D printed perfusion bioreactor system significantly augmented responses of endothelial cells by encouraging network formations and expressions of angiogenic markers, cluster of differentiation 31 (CD31), matrix metalloproteinase‐2 (MMP2), matrix metalloproteinase‐9 (MMP9), and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA). Bioprinting favored colocalization of trophoblasts with endothelial cells, similar to in vivo observations. Additional analysis revealed that trophoblasts reduced the angiogenic responses by reducing network formation and motility rates while inducing apoptosis of endothelial cells. Moreover, the presence of endothelial cells appeared to inhibit trophoblast invasion rates. These results clearly demonstrated the utility and potential of bioprinting and perfusion bioreactor system to model trophoblast–endothelium interactions in vitro. Our bioprinted placenta model represents a crucial step to develop advanced research approach that will expand our understanding and treatment options of preeclampsia and other pregnancy‐related pathologies.