Sexually Dimorphic Crosstalk at the Maternal-Fetal Interface


We identified 91 sexually dimorphic receptor-ligand pairs across the maternal-fetal interface. We examined fetal sex differences in 5 major cell types (trophoblasts, stromal cells, Hofbauer cells, antigen-presenting cells, and endothelial cells). Ligands from the CC family chemokine ligand (CCL) family were most highly representative in females, with their receptors present on the maternal surface. Sexually dimorphic trophoblast transcripts, Mucin-15 (MUC15) and notum, palmitoleoyl-protein carboxylesterase (NOTUM) were also most highly expressed in syncytiotrophoblasts and extra-villous trophoblasts respectively. Gene Ontology (GO) analysis using sexually dimorphic genes in individual cell types identified cytokine mediated signaling pathways to be most representative in female trophoblasts. Upstream analysis demonstrated TGFB1 and estradiol to affect all cell types, but dihydrotestosterone, produced by the male fetus, was an upstream regulator most significant for the trophoblast population.