© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Purpose: Several in vitro systems have been reported to model human implantation; however, the molecular dynamics of the trophoblast vs. the epithelial substrate during attachment have not been described. We have established an in vitro model which allowed us to dissect the transcriptional responses of the trophoblast and the receptive vs. non-receptive epithelium after co-culture. Methods: We established an in vitro system based on co-culture of (a) immortalized cells representing receptive (Ishikawa) or non-receptive (HEC-1-A) endometrial epithelium with (b) spheroids of a trophoblastic cell line (JEG-3) modified to express green fluorescent protein (GFP). After 48 h of co-culture, GFP+ (trophoblast cells) and GFP− cell fractions (receptive or non-receptive epithelial cells) were isolated by fluorescence-activated flow cytometry (FACS) and subjected to RNA-seq profiling and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). Results: Compared to HEC-1-A, the trophoblast challenge to Ishikawa cells differentially regulated the expression of 495 genes, which mainly involved cell adhesion and extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules. GSEA revealed enrichment of pathways related to cell division, cell cycle regulation, and metabolism in the Ishikawa substrate. Comparing the gene expression profile of trophoblast spheroids revealed that 1877 and 323 genes were upregulated or downregulated when co-cultured on Ishikawa substrates (compared to HEC-1-A), respectively. Pathways favorable to development, including tissue remodeling, organogenesis, and angiogenesis, were enhanced in the trophoblast compartment after co-culture of spheroids with receptive epithelium. By contrast, the co-culture with less receptive epithelium enriched pathways mainly related to trophoblast cell proliferation and cell cycle regulation. Conclusions: Endometrial receptivity requires a transcriptional signature that determines the trophoblast response and drives attachment.
- Endometrial receptivity