Absence of lymphatic vessels in term placenta
Becker, Jürgen ; Tchagou Tchangou, Gilles E ; Schmidt, Sonja ; Zelent, Christina ; Kahl, Fritz ; Wilting, Jörg
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17437
Abstract Background There has been debate about the existence of lymphatic vessels in placenta. Lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) markers such as LYVE-1 and podoplanin/D2–40 have been found, although PROX1 has not been detected. The most reliable marker for LECs is the double staining for CD31 and PROX1, which has not been performed yet. Methods We studied three term placentas and dissected them into three areas: i.) basal plate area, ii.) intermediate area, and iii.) chorionic plate area. We used immunofluorescence single and double staining with antibodies against CD31, PROX1, LYVE-1, VEGFR-3, D2–40/PDPN, CD34, CCBE-1, and vimentin, as well as nested PCR, qPCR, Western blot and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Results At TEM level we observed structures that have previously mistakenly been interpreted as lymphatics, however, we did not find any CD31/PROX1 double-positive cells in placenta. Absence of PROX1 was also noted by nested PCR, qPCR and Western blot. Also, LEC marker VEGFR-3 was expressed only in a small number of scattered leukocytes but was absent from vessels. The LEC marker D2–40/PDPN was expressed in most stromal cells, and the LEC marker LYVE-1 was found in a considerable number of stromal cells, but not in endothelial cells, which were positive for CD31, CD34, CCBE-1 and vimentin. Additionally, vimentin was found in stromal cells. Conclusions Our studies clearly show absence of lymphatics in term placenta. We also show that the functional area of the mother’s endometrium is not penetrated by lymphatics in term pregnancy.