Modeling human trophoblast development during the peri-implantation period using extended embryo culture

During the peri-implantation period, a human embryo must transition from a pre-implantation stage blastocyst to a gastrulating embryonic disc surrounding by the primitive placenta. The primitive placenta at this time establishes contact, proliferates, invades, modulates the maternal immune system, and provides a primitive form of nutrients to the implanting embryo proper. Insights into this period have been largely stunted due to the ethical and technical challenges that accompany human embryo research. Studies using donated human embryos following fertility treatment are complicated by confounding infertility diagnoses and limited sample sizes. The development of the extended culture system has provided an avenue to functionally study the peri-implantation period. Further, by using a variety of models including mouse embryos, human embryos, and stem cell-derived blastoids in the extended culture system, researchers are finally able to begin to piece together the puzzle of the peri- implantation period. Here, our objectives were to demonstrate the utility of mouse models in modeling human trophoblast during peri-implantation extended culture, examine and summarize human development during peri-implantation in the context of confounding fertility diagnoses, compare human trophoblast in extended culture to other widely available regenerative trophoblast models, and determine to what extent blastoids are able to reflect human peri-implantation development and maternal-fetal crosstalk in extended culture. Further, we show that estrogen signaling in trophectoderm may be conserved between mouse and human embryos, aged embryos exhibit hindered growth in extended culture, peri-implantation trophoblast cells have unique transcriptional priorities, and the presence of endometrial stromal cells encourage fusion of syncytiotrophoblasts. Our studies both reinforce the significance of the extended culture system and lay the groundwork for future studies on early trophoblast and embryo development during peri-implantation.
2023 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Embargo expires: 08/28/2024.
stem cells
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