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Human trophoblasts confer resistance to viruses implicated in perinatal infection

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.07.060
  • Medicine


Objective Primary human trophoblasts were previously shown to be resistant to viral infection, and able to confer this resistance to nontrophoblast cells. Can trophoblasts protect nontrophoblastic cells from infection by viruses or other intracellular pathogens that are implicated in perinatal infection? Study Design Isolated primary term human trophoblasts were cultured for 48-72 hours. Diverse nonplacental human cell lines (U2OS, human foreskin fibroblast, TZM-bl, MeWo, and Caco-2) were preexposed to either trophoblast conditioned medium, nonconditioned medium, or miR-517-3p for 24 hours. Cells were infected with several viral and nonviral pathogens known to be associated with perinatal infections. Cellular infection was defined and quantified by plaque assays, luciferase assays, microscopy, and/or colonization assays. Differences in infection were assessed by Student t test or analysis of variance with Bonferroni correction. Results Infection by rubella and other togaviruses, human immunodeficiency virus-1, and varicella zoster was attenuated in cells preexposed to trophoblast-conditioned medium (P < .05), and a partial effect by the chromosome 19 microRNA miR-517-3p on specific pathogens. The conditioned medium had no effect on infection by Toxoplasma gondii or Listeria monocytogenes. Conclusion Our findings indicate that medium conditioned by primary human trophoblasts attenuates viral infection in nontrophoblastic cells. Our data point to a trophoblast-specific antiviral effect that may be exploited therapeutically.

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