Isolation of functional human trophoblast cells and their partial characterization in primary cell culture

Kurt Stromberg, J. C. Azizkhan, K. V. Speeg

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Human trophoblast isolation and cell culture procedures were examined to identify variables that enhance secretion of chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in primary culture. Brief exposure of unminced first-trimester placental specimens to a solution of trypsin-EDTA-DNAse, and isolation of the dispersed cells after Ficoll-hypaque centrifugation yielded primary cultures that were high in HCG secretion and content of epithelial-like cells. The gradual decline in HCG level with time in monolayer culture in these presumptive trophoblast cells was retarded by treatment with theophylline and cyclic adenosine monophosphate. Exposure to methotrexate (MTX) did not increase HCG secretion in normal trophoblast cells, in contrast to a 5-fold stimulation by MTX in the JAR line of choriocarcinoma cells. Clusters of polygonal cells in primary culture progressively lost their capacity to secrete HCG and their epithelial-like morphology. However, they could be maintained as cell strains through approximately 15 passages over a period of 13 to 16 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-638
Number of pages8
JournalIn Vitro
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1978
Externally publishedYes



  • chorionic gonadotropin
  • human trophoblast
  • monolayer culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science

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