Main Article Content
The syndecan family consists of four distinct membrane glycoproteins in mammals. Syndecans control cell proliferation, differentiation, adhesion and migration through participation in cell-cell interactions, anchorage of cells to the extracellular environment, and modulation of multiple growth factors. Therefore, syndecans may play a pivotal role in the regulation of cell behaviour depending on the cellular microenvironment. Here, we demonstrate that syndecan-1, syndecan-2 and syndecan-4 are expressed in fetal membrane tissue with different immunolocalizations. Syndecan-1 is expressed in the amniotic epithelium, localizing at basolateral cell surfaces. Syndecan-2 and syndecan-4, in contrast, are mostly localized in intracellular compartments, in the extravillous cytotrophoblastic cells and in some fibroblasts of the chorionic plate as well as in the amniotic epithelial cells. In the latter, syndecan-4 is mainly localized in the apical part of the cells. Our results strongly suggest a key role of syndecan-1, syndecan-2 and syndecan-4 in the determination of structural and functional characteristics of human amnion and chorionic plate. Since the solute exchanges between fetus and mother take place in fetal membranes, our data suggest that syndecans are important players in the placenta for the establishment of the fetal-maternal inter-communication.
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