Forskolin-induced differentiation of BeWo cells stimulates increased tumor growth in the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) egg

Ralf Schneider*, Marcus Borges, Mamed Kadyrov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Invasiveness of BeWo cells has been assessed in a variety of assay systems including matrigel and mouse. At the same time BeWo cells are mostly used as model system for trophoblast fusion. Here we aimed to test the properties of BeWo cells in a combined approach. We forced BeWo cells to differentiate by culturing the cells in the presence of forskolin and then used these cells for invasion assays on the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of the turkey. The chorioallantoic membranes of turkey eggs were incubated with medium containing forskolin, BeWo cells cultured in medium alone, BeWo cells cultured in forskolin and washed, and BeWo cells cultured in forskolin and used directly for application. Suspensions were applied onto ten CAM per condition. For local tumor formation eggs were checked for tumor development every 24 h macroscopically for up to 12 days and immunohistochemistry for cytokeratin 18 and Ki-67 were used for further analysis. Forskolin alone did not have any deleterious effect on the CAM. When the CAM was incubated with BeWo cells cultured in medium 40% of the eggs developed a macroscopically visible tumor. BeWo cells stimulated with forskolin and washed induced tumor growth in 50% of the eggs, while forskolin stimulated BeWo cells applied directly onto the CAM induced tumor growth in 70% of the eggs. Forced differentiation of BeWo cells by forskolin may lead to syncytial fusion in a plastic culture dish. Under the conditions used here, i.e. in direct contact to a living tissue, forskolin-induced differentiation of BeWo cells leads to an increase in tumor formation in the CAM. Thus BeWo cells may use signaling pathways to decide for both differentiation pathways similar to primary trophoblast depending on the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-223
JournalAnnals of Anatomy-Anatomischer Anzeiger
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Forskolin
  • BeWo cells
  • Tumor
  • Chorioallantoic membrane
  • In vivo
  • Turkey

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