Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 ACE2 and TMPRSS2 Receptor Protein Expression Patterns Throughout Gestation.J Infect Dis. 2021 Dec 08; 224(Supplement_6):S642-S646.JI
We previously demonstrated that the late gestation placental expression pattern of ACE2 (the primary severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2] receptor) is localized to the villous syncytiotrophoblast (ST), usually in a polarized membranous pattern at the ST base sparing the apical surface (that directly exposed to maternal blood). We found that the late gestation placental expression pattern of TMPRSS2 (the spike proteinase required for SARS-CoV-2 cellular infection), is usually absent in the trophoblast but is rarely, weakly expressed in the placental endothelium. We now show the developmental protein expression patterns of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 by immunohistochemistry throughout gestation, from the first through third trimester. We found that TMPRSS2 expression was rarely detectable in villous endothelium and very rarely detectable in the ST across gestation. We found that ACE2 expression varied during gestation with circumferential ST expression more common in early gestations and polarized expression more common in later gestation. Although this study is small, these preliminary results suggest that earlier gestation pregnancies may be more vulnerable to infection than later gestation pregnancies.