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Formaldehyde Crosses the Human Placenta and Affects Human Trophoblast Differentiation and Hormonal Functions

Abstract : The chorionic villus of the human placenta is the source of specific endocrine functions and nutrient exchanges. These activities are ensured by the syncytiotrophobast (ST), which bathes in maternal blood. The ST arises and regenerates throughout pregnancy by fusion of underlying cytotrophoblasts (CT). Any anomaly of ST formation or regeneration can affect pregnancy outcome and fetal growth. Because of its direct interaction with maternal blood, the ST is sensitive to drugs, pollutants and xenohormones. Ex vivo assays of perfused cotyledon show that formaldehyde, a common pollutant present in furniture, paint and plastics, can accumulate in the human placenta and cross to the fetal compartment. By means of RT-qPCR, immunoblot and immunocytochemistry experiments, we demonstrate in vitro that formaldehyde exerts endocrine toxicity on human trophoblasts, including a decrease in the production of protein hormones of pregnancy. In addition, formaldehyde exposure triggered human trophoblast fusion by upregulating syncitin-1 receptor expression (ASC-type amino-acid transporter 2: ASCT2). Moreover, we show that formaldehyde-exposed trophoblasts present an altered redox status associated with oxidative stress, and an increase in ASCT2 expression intended to compensate for this stress. Finally, we demonstrate that the adverse effects of formaldehyde on trophoblast differentiation and fusion are reversed by N-acetyl-L-cysteine (Nac), an antioxidant.
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Guillaume Pidoux, Pascale Gerbaud, Jean Guibourdenche, Patrice Therond, Fatima Ferreira, et al.. Formaldehyde Crosses the Human Placenta and Affects Human Trophoblast Differentiation and Hormonal Functions. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (7), pp.e0133506. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0133506⟩. ⟨inserm-02472555⟩



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