Co-localization of vascular endothelial growth factor and its two receptors flt-1 and kdr in the mink placenta.Placenta. 2001 May; 22(5):457-65.P
Placental angiogenesis plays an important role in placental development and morphogenesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a well-known angiogenic growth factor, which has previously been localized in different epitheliochorial and haemochorial placenta types. In the present study VEGF and its Flt-1(VEGFR-1) and KDR (VEGFR-2) receptors were immunolocalized in the endotheliochorial mink placenta throughout gestation. VEGF, Flt-1 and KDR co-localized to fetal and maternal microvascular endothelial cells, but with a temporal difference, displaying KDR in endothelial cells throughout gestation, whereas the VEGF and Flt-1 maternal endothelial cell staining was most intense during late gestation. Additionally, KDR was found in vascular related mesenchymal cells. The VEGF-receptors were also localized in non-endothelial cells, e.g. the uterine luminal and glandular epithelium as well as the trophoblast. Our results are in agreement with former studies, showing the different effects of the Flt-1-and KDR receptors in respect of angiogenesis. More importantly, the present study of the endotheliochorial placenta localizes the VEGF-ligand-receptor system in non-endothelial cells, and thereby strengthen the hypothesis that VEGF, apart from its well-established angiogenic properties, must also have additional functional roles in the establishment and development of the placenta.