Toll-like receptor profiling of seven trophoblast cell lines warrants caution for translation to primary trophoblasts
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPlacenta. 2015, 36 (11), 1246-1253. 10.1016/j.placenta.2015.09.004
Introduction Excessive placental inflammation is associated with pregnancy complications. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are sensors for danger signals from infections and damaged tissue and initiate inflammation. Trophoblasts in the placenta broadly express TLRs. Trophoblast cell lines are used as surrogates for primary trophoblasts for in vitro studies, but the inflammatory translatability of trophoblast cell lines warrants examination. We aimed to assess TLR1-10 gene expression and activation in seven trophoblast cell lines and compare this to primary trophoblasts. Methods The five choriocarcinoma trophoblast cell lines BeWo, JAR, JEG-3, AC1M-32 and ACH-3P, and the two SV40 transfected trophoblast cell lines HTR-8/SVneo and SGHPL-5 were included and compared to primary first trimester trophoblasts (n = 6). TLR1-10 gene expression was analyzed by RT-qPCR. Cells were stimulated by specific TLR1-9 ligands for 24 h and cytokine release was measured by a 10-plex immunoassay. Results All choriocarcinoma cell lines demonstrated broad TLR gene expression, but lacked functional cytokine response to TLR ligand activation. In contrast, SV40 transfected cell lines showed restricted TLR gene expression, but SGHPL-5 cells displayed significantly increased levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-12 and vascular endothelial growth factor A after TLR3 and/or TLR4 activation (P < 0.01), while TLR2 activation increased IL-6 and IL-8 levels (P < 0.05). HTR8/SVneo cells responded to TLR3 activation by increased IL-6 and interferon (IFN)-γ (P < 0.05). The SGHPL-5 TLR profile most closely resembled primary trophoblast. Discussion The characterized trophoblast cell line TLR profiles serve as a reference and warrant caution when selecting trophoblast cell lines as in vitro models for immune responses in primary trophoblasts.