The first study of human-cell atlas studies on early pregnancy showed people how the maternal immune function affects developing placental cells. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Newcastle University and Cambridge University used genomics and bioinformatics approaches to map over 70,000 single cells at the intersection of the uterus and placenta. It showed how cells interact with each other to modify the immune response and ensure pregnancy.
Posted in: Nature, this work generates new and unexpected cellular positions in the uterus and placenta and shows which genes are in each cell. An insight from this will help us understand what leads to successful pregnancy and which may become inappropriate at the time sperm or preeclampsia occurs.
Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain a healthy pregnancy, as many women suffer from spontaneous abortions or childbirth, while others have problems like preeclampsia. The roots of many of these problems occur during the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the placenta develops.
The fetus creates a placenta that surrounds it in the womb to provide nutrients and oxygen. It is in contact with the mother, where it is implanted in the uterine lining – known as decidua – to create a good blood supply to the placenta. A study on the interface between mother and fetus could help answer many important questions, including how the maternal immune system is changing, although both mother and developing fetus can coexist. However, so far this area has not been well explored.
To understand this area, researchers looked at more than 70,000 single cells from the first trimester of pregnancy. Using single-cell RNA and DNA sequencing, they identified mammalian and fetal cells in decidua and placenta and discovered how these cells interact with each other. They discovered that fetal and maternal cells used signals to talk to each other, and this conversation allowed the mother's immune system to support the growth of the fetus.
Dr. Roser Vento-Tormo, the first author at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: "For the first time, we have been able to see which genes are active in each decidua and placenta in the cell, and have discovered which of these could change the maternal immune system. The cells of the fetus in the plane communicate with the mother's immune system cells to properly provide placental implants, so the fetus can develop and develop normally. "
Using microscopy-based methods, researchers were able to accurately determine the state of new cells in different layers of decidivation. They saw placental biological blocks – called trophoblast cells – penetrating the mother's uterine lining and causing tissue to alter the structure by creating blood supply to the developing fetus.
An author from the University of Newcastle, Musselife Haniffa, said: "This study was only possible because of the creation of a human development biology resource that provides tissue to explore the understanding of human development to help improve health. For the first time, the precise composition of the decidua and placenta and how It binds developing placenta and uterine cells. It has huge consequences for understanding what happens during normal pregnancy, and also to explore what can happen in conditions such as pre-eclampsia and spontaneous abortion. "
Professor Ashley Moffett, the corresponding author of the University of Cambridge, said: "The formation of decidence is essential for successful pregnancy and our study revealed completely new cell subtypes during the deciduous period. A further explanation of what each of these cells does will help to understand how the mother's immune response helps to achieve successful pregnancy. "
Understanding this area also affects cancer research. Tumor cells can use similar mechanisms to prevent the immune system and to obtain new blood supplies to provide nutrients and oxygen for tumor growth.
Dr Sarah Teichmann, co-chairman of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the Human Cell Elephant Initiative, co-chair, said: "This first human-selection atlas of gestational age gives us a reference card at this important early stage. It will transform our understanding of healthy development and help us understand how placentas and mother cells interact with each other to support pregnancy. This will help you understand pregnancy disturbances and help you understand how cancer cells are used. "