Identification of the functional pathways altered by placental cell exposure to high glucose: lessons from the transcript and metabolite interactome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Charlotte Hulme
  • Adam Stevens
  • Alexander E P Heazell
  • Paul Begley
  • Katherine Hollywood
  • Melissa Westwood
  • Jenny Myers

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Manchester
  • Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre


The specific consequences of hyperglycaemia on placental metabolism and function are incompletely understood but likely contribute to poor pregnancy outcomes associated with diabetes mellitus (DM). This study aimed to identify the functional biochemical pathways perturbed by placental exposure to high glucose levels through integrative analysis of the trophoblast transcriptome and metabolome. The human trophoblast cell line, BeWo, was cultured in 5 or 25 mM glucose, as a model of the placenta in DM. Transcriptomic analysis using microarrays, demonstrated 5632 differentially expressed gene transcripts (≥±1.3 fold change (FC)) following exposure to high glucose. These genes were used to generate interactome models of transcript response using BioGRID (non-inferred network: 2500 nodes (genes) and 10541 protein-protein interactions). Ultra performance-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (MS) and gas chromatography-MS analysis of intracellular extracts and culture medium were used to assess the response of metabolite profiles to high glucose concentration. The interactions of altered genes and metabolites were assessed using the MetScape interactome database, resulting in an integrated model of systemic transcriptome (2969 genes) and metabolome (41 metabolites) response within placental cells exposed to high glucose. The functional pathways which demonstrated significant change in response to high glucose included fatty acid β-oxidation, phospholipid metabolism and phosphatidylinositol phosphate signalling.


Original languageEnglish
Article number5270
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date27 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2018