Cortisol dose-dependently impairs migration and tube-like formation in a trophoblast cell line and modulates inflammatory and angiogenic genes


  • T.G.R Húngaro
  • M.F. Gregnani
  • T. Alves-Silva
  • F. Herse
  • N. Alenina
  • M. Bader
  • R.C. Araújo


  • Biomedicines


  • Biomedicines 9 (8): 980


  • Several stimuli can change maternal hormone levels during pregnancy. These changes may affect trophoblastic cells and modulate the development of the embryo and the placental tissue itself. Changes in cortisol levels are associated with impaired trophoblast implantation and function, in addition to other pregnancy complications. This study aims to analyze the effects of low and high doses of cortisol on an extravillous trophoblast cell line, and the effects of various exposures to this hormone. SGHPL-4 cells were treated with cortisol at five doses (0–1000 nM) and two exposures (continuous: 24 h/day; and intermittent: 2 h/day). In intermittent treatment, cortisol acted mainly as an anti-inflammatory hormone, repressing gene expression of kinin B1 receptors, interleukin-6, and interleukin-1β. Continuous treatment modulated inflammatory and angiogenic pathways, significantly repressing angiogenic factors and their receptors. Cortisol affected cell migration and tube-like structures formation. In conclusion, both continuous and intermittent exposure to cortisol repressed the expression of inflammatory genes, while only continuous exposure repressed the expression of angiogenic genes, suggesting that a sustained increase in the levels of this hormone is more harmful than a high short-term increase. Cortisol also impaired tube-like structures formation, and kinin receptors may be involved in this response.