Localization of heparanase in normal and pathological human placenta

Ronit Haimov-Kochman, Yael Friedmann, Diana Prus, Debra S. Goldman-Wohl, Caryn Greenfield, Eyal Y. Anteby, Ayelet Aviv, Israel Vlodavsky, Simcha Yagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) components is critical for invasion. Heparan sulphate proteoglycans are abundant in the ECM of the placenta and the decidua, hence their degradation may disassemble the matrix and facilitate placentation and trophoblast invasion. This study investigates the expression of heparanase in normal and pathological placentation using RT-PCR, in-situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry analysis to detect heparanase in specific cells of the placenta and at the fetal-maternal interface throughout pregnancy. Heparanase was observed in villous cytotrophoblasts (CT), syncytial trophoblasts (ST) and in intermediate trophoblast cell columns in normal first trimester, molar and ectopic pregnancies. The heparanase protein was preferentially expressed in the endothelium of fetal capillaries, and to a much lesser extent in larger fetal vessels. Extravillous trophoblasts (EVT) invading the decidua and the maternal vessels were also heparanase positive. In the second and third trimesters, villous CT remained heparanase positive whereas ST showed variable heparanase expression. EVT invading the placental implantation site were also positively stained. A similar pattern was observed in samples obtained from pre-eclamptic placentae and from placenta accreta. Our results indicate consistent expression of heparanase in normal and abnormal placenta, in small fetal vessels and in a variety of trophoblast subpopulations with different invasive potentials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-573
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Heparanase
  • Hydatidiform mole
  • Invasion
  • Placenta
  • Trophoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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