Calcitonin gene-related peptide stimulates human villous trophoblast cell differentiation in vitro

K. E. Green, C. Thota, G. D.V. Hankins, C. Yallampalli, Yuan Lin Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a multifunctional peptide present in both maternal and fetal circulations in pregnancy. Its receptors have been identified on human trophoblast cells, but the role of CGRP in trophoblast differentiation remains unknown. This study was designed to determine the effect of CGRP on the differentiation of villous trophoblasts isolated from normal human term placentae. The morphological and functional differentiation of the trophoblast cells were assessed by desmosomal protein immunofluorescent staining and the quantification of hCG, estrogen and progesterone secretion. Results showed that (i) exposure of villous trophoblast cells to CGRP led to a dose-dependent increase in intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) accumulation; (ii) immunofluorescent staining with antidesmosomal antibody was identified at the boundaries between aggregated cytotrophoblast cells, and these stainings disappeared when cells fused to form syncytiotrophoblast cells; (iii) the formation of multinucleated syncytiums in primary cultured cytotrophoblasts was stimulated by CGRP as evidenced by the changes in antidesmosomal staining; (iv) CGRP increases trophoblast hCG secretion in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and this secretion was blocked by CGRP antagonist, CGRP 8-37, and (v) both 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone concentrations in the culture medium were increased by CGRP, and these increases were dose dependent. These observations suggest that CGRP may be involved in the morphological and functional differentiation of trophoblast cells, and these actions might be attributed to CGRP-induced intracellular cAMP accumulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CGRP
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Trophoblasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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