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Open AccessArticle

Transcriptomics and Immunological Analyses Reveal a Pro-Angiogenic and Anti-Inflammatory Phenotype for Decidual Endothelial Cells

Institute for Maternal and Child Health, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere (I.R.C.C.S.) “Burlo Garofolo”, via dell’Istria 65/1, 34134 Trieste, Italy
Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, via Valerio 28, 34127 Trieste, Italy
Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Science, University of Trieste, 34127 Trieste, Italy
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Internal Medicine Unit, University of Florence, Largo Brambilla 3, 50134 Florence, Italy
Clinical and Experimental Onco-Hematology Unit, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico, I.R.C.C.S., via Gallini 2, 33081 Aviano (PN), Italy
Biosciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1604;
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Immunology: Cellular and Molecular Biology)
Background: In pregnancy, excessive inflammation and break down of immunologic tolerance can contribute to miscarriage. Endothelial cells (ECs) are able to orchestrate the inflammatory processes by secreting pro-inflammatory mediators and bactericidal factors by modulating leakiness and leukocyte trafficking, via the expression of adhesion molecules and chemokines. The aim of this study was to analyse the differences in the phenotype between microvascular ECs isolated from decidua (DECs) and ECs isolated from human skin (ADMECs). Methods: DECs and ADMECs were characterized for their basal expression of angiogenic factors and adhesion molecules. A range of immunological responses was evaluated, such as vessel leakage, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in response to TNF-α stimulation, adhesion molecules expression and leukocyte migration in response to TNF-α and IFN-γ stimulation. Results: DECs produced higher levels of HGF, VEGF-A and IGFBP3 compared to ADMECs. DECs expressed adhesion molecules, ICAM-2 and ICAM-3, and a mild response to TNF-α was observed. Finally, DECs produced high levels of CXCL9/MIG and CXCL10/IP-10 in response to IFN-γ and selectively recruited Treg lymphocytes. Conclusion: DEC phenotype differs considerably from that of ADMECs, suggesting that DECs may play an active role in the control of immune response and angiogenesis at the foetal-maternal interface. View Full-Text
Keywords: endothelium; decidua; skin; angiogenesis; inflammation endothelium; decidua; skin; angiogenesis; inflammation
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Agostinis, C.; Masat, E.; Bossi, F.; Ricci, G.; Menegazzi, R.; Lombardelli, L.; Zito, G.; Mangogna, A.; Degan, M.; Gattei, V.; Piccinni, M.-P.; Kishore, U.; Bulla, R. Transcriptomics and Immunological Analyses Reveal a Pro-Angiogenic and Anti-Inflammatory Phenotype for Decidual Endothelial Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 1604.

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