Transcriptomics and immunological analyses reveal a pro-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory phenotype for decidual endothelial cells

Chiara Agostinis, Elisa Masat, Fleur Bossi, Giuseppe Ricci, Renzo Menegazzi, Letizia Lombardelli, Gabriella Zito, Alessandro Mangogna, Massimo Degan, Valter Gattei, Marie Pierre Piccinni, Uday Kishore, Roberta Bulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In pregnancy, excessive inflammation and break down of immunologic tolerance can contribute to miscarriage. Endothelial cells (ECs) are able to orchestrate the inflammatory processes by secreting pro-inflammatory mediators and bactericidal factors by modulating leakiness and leukocyte trafficking, via the expression of adhesion molecules and chemokines. The aim of this study was to analyse the differences in the phenotype between microvascular ECs isolated from decidua (DECs) and ECs isolated from human skin (ADMECs). Methods: DECs and ADMECs were characterized for their basal expression of angiogenic factors and adhesion molecules. A range of immunological responses was evaluated, such as vessel leakage, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in response to TNF-α stimulation, adhesion molecules expression and leukocyte migration in response to TNF-α and IFN-γ stimulation. Results: DECs produced higher levels of HGF, VEGF-A and IGFBP3 compared to ADMECs. DECs expressed adhesion molecules, ICAM-2 and ICAM-3, and a mild response to TNF-α was observed. Finally, DECs produced high levels of CXCL9/MIG and CXCL10/IP-10 in response to IFN-γ and selectively recruited Treg lymphocytes. Conclusion: DEC phenotype differs considerably from that of ADMECs, suggesting that DECs may play an active role in the control of immune response and angiogenesis at the foetal-maternal interface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1604
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Angiogenesis
  • Decidua
  • Endothelium
  • Inflammation
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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