The role of CX3CL1 in fetal-maternal interaction during human gestation
SALAMONSEN, Lois A.
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Embryo implantation and subsequent placentation require a fine balanced fetal-maternal cross-talk of hormones, cytokines and chemokines. Amongst the group of chemokines, CX3CL1 (also known as fractalkine) has recently attracted attention in the field of reproductive research. It exists both as membrane-bound and soluble isoforms. On the basis of current experimental evidence, fractalkine is suggested to regulate adhesion and migration processes in fetal-maternal interaction at different stages of human pregnancy. Expressed by uterine glandular epithelial cells, predominantly during the mid-secretory phase of the menstrual cycle, fractalkine appears to prime the blastocyst for forthcoming implantation. After implantation, fractalkine is suggested to regulate invasion of extravillous trophoblasts by altering their expression profile of adhesion molecules. With onset of perfusion of the intervillous space at the end of first trimester, fractalkine present at the apical microvillous plasma membrane of the syncytiotrophoblast may mediate close interaction of placental villi with circulating maternal blood cells.
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