Argininosuccinate synthase (ASS1) is involved in nitric oxide production, which has a key role in placental development improving pregnancy outcomes. Syncytiotrophoblast and extravillous trophoblast differentiations are milestones of placental development and their impairment can cause pathologies, such as preeclampsia (PE) and fetal growth restriction (FGR). Immunohistochemistry and Western blotting were used to localize and quantify ASS1 in first trimester (8.2 +/- 1.8 weeks), third trimester (38.6 +/- 1.1 weeks), and PE (36.3 +/- 1.5 weeks) placentas. In addition, cell cultures were used to evaluate ASS1 expression under hypoxic conditions and the syncytialization process. Our data showed that ASS1 is localized in the villous cytotrophoblast of first trimester, third trimester, and PE placentas, while the villous cytotrophoblast adjacent to the extravillous trophoblast of cell columns as well as the extravillous trophoblast were negative for ASS1 in first trimester placentas. In addition, ASS1 was decreased in third trimester compared to the first trimester placentas (p = 0.003) and no differences were detected between third trimester and PE placentas. Moreover, ASS1 expression was decreased in hypoxic conditions and syncytialized cells compared to those not syncytialized. In conclusion, we suggest that the expression of ASS1 in villous cytotrophoblast is related to maintaining proliferative phenotype, while ASS1 absence may be involved in promoting the differentiation of villous cytotrophoblast in extravillous cytotrophoblast of cell columns in first trimester placentas.
Downregulation of argininosuccinate synthase 1 (ASS1) is associated with hypoxia in placental development / Fantone, Sonia; Ermini, Leonardo; Piani, Federica; Di Simone, Nicoletta; Barbaro, Greta; Giannubilo, Stefano Raffaele; Gesuita, Rosaria; Tossetta, Giovanni; Marzioni, Daniela. - In: HUMAN CELL. - ISSN 0914-7470. - 36:3(2023), pp. 1190-1198. [10.1007/s13577-023-00901-x]