Expression of ZO-1 and occludin in normal human placenta and in hydatidiform moles

D. Marzioni, M. Banita, A. Felici, F. J. Paradinas, E. Newlands, M. De Nictolis, J. Mühlhauser, M. Castellucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin are key molecules in cell-cell contacts. They are tight junction constituents and therefore play a pivotal role in tissue differentiation and organogenesis. In the present report we have investigated the expression of ZO-1 and occludin in normal human placentae and in hydatidiform moles using immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses. In normal placentae, ZO-1 and occludin were mainly localized in the apical part of the syncytium, in cell-cell contacts between syncytium and villous cytotrophoblastic cells as well as between the latter. Extravillous cytotrophoblast of cell islands and cell columns was positive for ZO-1 and occludin in the cell layers proximally located to the villous stroma whereas the cytotrophoblastic cells, distally located from the villous stroma, were totally negative. Furthermore, fetal vessels showed a positive staining pattern for ZO-1 throughout gestation, whereas a positive reaction for occludin was produced mainly at term. A striking result was the altered expression of ZO-1 and occludin in partial and complete moles. In 11 moles, these two molecules were not expressed at all, while in the other nine, their expression was only cytoplasmic in syncytium and villous cytotrophoblastic cells. These findings suggest that ZO-1 and occludin participate in normal placental development, maintaining the organization and functions of different tissue components. The down-regulation and/or dysregulation of these two molecules may be related to phenotypic changes associated with epithelial cell transformation of the chorionic villi in partial and complete moles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Complete mole
  • Occludin
  • Partial mole
  • Placenta
  • Zonula occludens-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Embryology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of ZO-1 and occludin in normal human placenta and in hydatidiform moles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this