Hemochorial placentation is characterized by trophoblast-directed uterine spiral artery remodeling. The rat and human both possess hemochorial placentation and exhibit remarkable similarities regarding the depth of trophoblast invasion and the extent of uterine vascular modification. In vitro and in vivo research methodologies have been established using the rat as an animal model to investigate the extravillous/invasive trophoblast lineage. With these research approaches, two signaling pathways controlling the differentiation and invasion of the trophoblast cell lineage have been identified: i) hypoxia/hypoxia inducible factor and ii) phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT/Fos like antigen 1. Dissection of these pathways has facilitated identification of fundamental regulators of the invasive trophoblast cell lineage.
2012 Society for Reproduction and Development