Growing Placenta-Generating Cells

Researchers derive trophoblast stem cells from mouse fibroblasts, paving the way for cell therapy for placental dysfunction diseases.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Oct 14, 2015

High-magnification micrograph of intermediate trophoblast cellsWIKIMEDIA, NEPHRONTransiently expressing three genes in mouse fibroblasts, an international team of researchers has coaxed the cells into trophoblast stem-like cells (TSCs), skipping a pluripotent stage. The derived cells had similar characteristics to blastocyst-derived TSCs—which form most of the developing placenta—and contributed to placental cell lineages in vitro, according to a study published last month (September 24) in Cell Stem Cell.

“Here, we describe a method to generate stable and fully functional TSC-like cells from murine fibroblasts by transient ectopic expression of three TSC key master regulators, Gata3, Eomes, and Tfap2c,” the authors wrote in their paper. “These data suggest that the conversion of fibroblasts into iTSCs represents a very high degree of nuclear reprogramming and refute the hypothesis that complete nuclear reprogramming can be achieved only in cells undergoing conversion to ESC-like cells.”

“The success of this study will grant...

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