Human embryonic stem cell–derived blastocyst-like spheroids resemble human trophectoderm during early implantation process

BAP-EB possess human trophectoderm-like gene signature and can be used as human blastocyst surrogate for the study of the early implantation process, endometrial receptivity, and trophoblast development.

VOLUME 114, ISSUE 3, P653-664.E6


Chaomin Yue, Ph.D., Andy Chun Hang Chen, Ph.D., Siyu Tian, B.Med., Sze Wan Fong, M.Phil., Kai Chuen Lee, M.Phil., Jiangwen Zhang, Ph.D., Ernest Hung Yu Ng, M.D., Kai Fai Lee, Ph.D., William Shu Biu Yeung, Ph.D., Yin Lau Lee, Ph.D.



To study the use of human embryonic stem cell–derived trophoblastic spheroids (BAP-EB) as human blastocyst surrogates for studying early implantation and trophoblast development.


Laboratory study.


University research laboratory.


Infertile in vitro fertilization patients donating endometrial aspirates and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs: VAL3 and H9/WA09).


In BAP-EB derived from hESC, transcriptomes analyzed by next-generation RNA sequencing, effects of Hippo signaling pathway studied by a YAP inhibitor, comparison of attachment of BAP-EB onto primary endometrial epithelial cells (EEC) collected at prereceptive and receptive phases, and antibody blocking assay used to study the molecule(s) involved in BAP-EB attachment.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Gene expression profiles and endometrial cell attachment rates.


The BAP-EB differentiation protocol for VAL3 could be used to induce trophoblast differentiation in another hESC line, H9. Transcriptomic analysis showed that the epiblast signature gene expression was reduced while that of the trophoblast was induced during BAP-EB differentiation. Specifically, trophectoderm signature genes were induced in BAP-EB at 48 hours and 72 hours after induction of differentiation. The Hippo signaling pathway was one of the pathways induced during BAP-EB differentiation, and YAP1 inhibitor statistically significantly reduced attachment, outgrowth, and trophoblast gene expressions of BAP-EB. A statistically significantly higher number of BAP-EB derived from both VAL3 and H9 attached onto receptive EEC than prereceptive EEC. The antibody blocking assay demonstrated that endometrial E-cadherin might be critical in early implantation.


The data suggest that BAP-EB possesses a trophectoderm-like signature, which supports the use of BAP-EB as a blastocyst surrogate for the study of trophoblast development and endometrial receptivity.

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