Placental Effects of Systemic Tumour Necrosis Factor-α in an Animal Model of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

R. A. Bobadilla, R. Van Bree, L. Vercruysse, R. Pijnenborg, J. Verhaeghe

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10 Scopus citations


Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) may adversely affect fetoplacental interaction. Numerous reports demonstrate that GDM women have increased circulating tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF), a pro-apoptotic peptide. Objective: To examine whether implantation site apoptosis is increased by exogenous TNF in mice heterozygous for a defective leptin receptor (db/+), a GDM animal model. Study design: Implantation sites were studied at gestational day (gd)18.5 in 3 groups: saline-treated wild-type (wt) and db/+ mice, and TNF-treated db/+ mice. Saline or TNF (total dose 4 μg) was administered by miniosmotic pump from gd11.5. Immunostaining for cleaved caspase-3, PAS and cytokeratin was performed for quantification of apoptotic cells, uterine natural killer (uNK) cells, and trophoblast invasion, respectively. The mRNA expression of TNF and TNF-induced apoptotic markers in placenta and mesometrial triangle (MT) was measured by quantitative RT-PCR. Results: The implantation sites from saline-treated wt and db/+ mice showed comparable numbers of apoptotic cells and uNK cells. Compared with the saline-treated groups, TNF-treated db/+ dams had less fetuses; the placental labyrinth and trophospongium contained more apoptotic cells; and the MT contained a higher total number of uNK cells including more cells intensely stained for cleaved caspase-3 as well as cells with negative staining. Trophoblast invasion was shallower in db/+ than in wt mice (14% and 30% of total invasion into MT, respectively) but this was not affected by TNF. The mRNA expression of TNF and apoptotic markers was comparable in the 3 groups. Conclusions: TNF treatment in db/+ mice raises the number of apoptotic cells in the placenta, and appears to increase the retention of uNK cells in the MT. Db/+ mice demonstrate shallower trophoblast invasion which is unaffected by exogenous TNF. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1057-1063
Number of pages950
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010


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