Liver receptor homolog-1 is essential for pregnancy.
ABSTRACT: Successful pregnancy requires coordination of an array of signals and factors from multiple tissues. One such element, liver receptor homolog-1 (Lrh-1), is an orphan nuclear receptor that regulates metabolism and hormone synthesis. It is strongly expressed in granulosa cells of ovarian follicles and in the corpus luteum of rodents and humans. Germline ablation of Nr5a2 (also called Lrh-1), the gene coding for Lrh-1, in mice is embryonically lethal at gastrulation. Depletion of Lrh-1 in the ovarian follicle shows that it regulates genes required for both steroid synthesis and ovulation. To study the effects of Lrh-1 on mouse gestation, we genetically disrupted its expression in the corpus luteum, resulting in luteal insufficiency. Hormone replacement permitted embryo implantation but was followed by gestational failure with impaired endometrial decidualization, compromised placental formation, fetal growth retardation and fetal death. Lrh-1 is also expressed in the mouse and human endometrium, and in a primary culture of human endometrial stromal cells, reduction of NR5A2 transcript abundance by RNA interference abrogated decidualization. These findings show that Lrh-1 is necessary for maintenance of the corpus luteum, for promotion of decidualization and for formation of the placenta. It therefore has multiple, indispensible roles in establishing and sustaining pregnancy.
Project description:Although GPR64 has an important role for male fertility, its physiological roles in the female reproductive system are still unknown. In the present study, immunohistochemical analysis reveals a spatiotemporal expression of GPR64 in the uterus during early pregnancy. Observation of remarkable induction of GPR64 expression in uterine decidual cells points to its potential physiological significance on decidualization. The decidualization of uterine stromal cells is a key event in implantation. Progesterone (P4) signaling is crucial for the decidualization of the endometrial stromal cells for successful pregnancy. Therefore, we examined ovarian steroid hormone regulation of GPR64 expression in the murine uterus. P4 induced GPR64 expression in the epithelial and stromal cells of the uterus in ovariectomized wild-type mice, but not in PRKO mice. ChIP analysis confirmed that PGR proteins were recruited on progesterone response element of Gpr64 gene in the uteri of wild-type mice treated with P4. Furthermore, the expression of GPR64 was increased in human endometrial stromal cells (hESCs) during in vitro decidualization. Interestingly, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of GPR64 in hESCs remarkably reduced decidualization. These results suggest that Gpr64 has a crucial role in the decidualization of endometrial stromal cells.
Project description:Preeclampsia (PE) is a multisystem disorder unique to Homo sapiens that is known to cause maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. Between 5-7% of all pregnancies are affected by PE and it is responsible for approximately 50,000 maternal deaths annually. The pathogenesis of PE remains poorly understood. However, the results of this study indicated that insufficient decidualization plays a significant role. NR5A1 and NR5A2 are orphan members of the Ftz-F1 subfamily of nuclear receptors and are involved in mammal follicular development, female reproduction, steroidogenesis, and decidualization. The expression of NR5A1 and NR5A2 in the human decidua and their functions during decidualization were investigated using in vitro cultured cells by real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry, western blotting, and siRNA techniques. The results demonstrated that the levels of NR5A2 mRNA and protein in the decidual tissues of women with PE were lower than those of normal pregnant women. However, the levels of NR5A1 mRNA and protein did not significantly differ between groups. The expression of NR5A2 was upregulated after in vitro decidualization, but the expression of NR5A1 remained low and showed no difference compared with that of the control cells. Knocking down of NR5A2 in human endometrial stromal cells (hESC) resulted in a significant reduction in their expression of decidualization markers (IGFBP1 and PRL) and signaling pathway molecules (WNT4 and BMP2) (P < 0.05). From these data, we concluded that NR5A2 is pivotal for the decidualization of decidual tissues and cultured human endometrial stromal cells. Disorders of the endometrium in decidual tissues may be associated with the abnormal decidualization thought to cause PE.
Project description:The primate corpus luteum is a transient endocrine gland that differentiates from the ovulatory follicle midway through the ovarian (menstrual) cycle. Its formation and limited lifespan is critical for fertility, as luteal-derived progesterone is the essential steroid hormone required for embryo implantation and maintenance of intra-uterine pregnancy until the placenta develops. It is well-established that LH and the LH-like hormone, CG, are the vital luteotropic hormones during the menstrual cycle and early pregnancy, respectively. Recent advances, particularly through genome analyses and cellular studies, increased our understanding of various local factors and cellular processes associated with the development, maintenance and repression of the corpus luteum. These include paracrine or autocrine factors associated with angiogenesis (e.g., VEGF), and that mediate LH/CG actions (e.g., progesterone), or counteract luteotropic effects (i.e., local luteolysis; e.g., PGF2?). However, areas of mystery and controversy remain, particularly regarding the signals and events that initiate luteal regression in the non-fecund cycle. Novel approaches capable of gene "knockdown" or amplification", in vivo as well as in vitro, should identify novel or underappreciated gene products that are regulated by or modulate LH/CG actions to control the functional lifespan of the primate corpus luteum. Further advances in our understanding of luteal physiology will help to improve or control fertility for purposes ranging from preservation of endangered primate species to designing novel ovary-based contraceptives and treating ovarian disorders in women.
Project description:Prostaglandins (PGs) play important roles in mammalian reproductive function through autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine actions. However, they predominate as charged anions and diffuse poorly across the plasma membrane. Recently, a PG transporter (PGT) has been found to mediate PG transport across cell membranes. In ruminants, endometrial PGs are transported by a vascular pathway to the ovary to regress or rescue the corpus luteum. There is no report on the role of PGT in the reproductive functions of any species. We have cloned and characterized the bovine PGT (bPGT) that transports different PGs in the following affinity order: PGE2 = PGF2alpha >/= PGD2 much greater than arachidonate. bPGT mRNA and protein are expressed in endometrium, myometrium, and the utero-ovarian plexus (UOP) during the estrous cycle. The level of bPGT expression is higher in endometrium and UOP on the side of corpus luteum between days 13 and 18 of the estrous cycle. bPGT protein is localized in endometrial stroma, luminal epithelial cells, myometrial smooth muscle cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells of uterine vein and artery. In UOP, bPGT is selectively expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells of uterine vein and ovarian artery. Spatio-temporal expression of bPGT in uterine tissues and UOP supports a significant role of bPGT in cellular and compartmental transport of PGs to mediate the endocrine action at the time of luteolysis or establishment of pregnancy in bovine. This study describes and proposes a role of PGT in the regulation of reproductive processes.
Project description:A high secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in reproductive-aged women is unusual. We report a case of recurrent corpus luteum hemorrhage and subsequent ovarian torsion with markedly elevated FSH levels in a reproductive-aged woman in the absence of functional gonadotroph adenoma (FGA) or premature ovarian failure (POF). A 22-year-old nulligravid woman with a history of bilateral hemorrhagic corpus luteum and subsequent ovarian torsion presented with acute abdominal pain. An emergency salpingo-oophorectomy of the right side was performed, and the right ovarian torsion due to hemorrhagic corpus luteum was diagnosed. Laboratory tests revealed markedly elevated FSH levels (77.6?mIU/mL). FGA was suspected, but no evidence of tumor was identified. The left ovary enlarged again at one-month follow-up. Estrogen/gestagen therapy (EGT) was started, which reduced the enlarged ovary to normal size. Two years later, her pituitary hormonal status was evaluated in detail. Besides markedly elevated FSH level, slightly elevated LH (31.2?mIU/mL), normal total inhibin B (35.3?pg/ml), abnormally low anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) (<0.03?ng/mL), and poor FSH response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulation test were found. In the absence of FGA, we conclude that certain disorders of inhibitory factors for FSH function, including inhibin and AMH may exist, which could attribute to the patient's symptoms. EGT was very effective in suppressing the ovarian hyperactivity.
Project description:Women with endometriosis can suffer from decreased fecundity or complete infertility via abnormal oocyte function or impaired placental-uterine interactions required for normal pregnancy establishment and maintenance. Although AT-rich interactive domain 1A (SWI-like) (ARID1A) is a putative tumor suppressor in human endometrial cancers and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancers, little is known about its role in normal uterine function. To study the potential function of ARID1A in the female reproductive tract, we generated mice with a conditional knockout of Arid1a using anti-Müllerian hormone receptor 2-Cre Female Arid1a conditional knockout mice exhibited a progressive decrease in number of pups per litter, with a precipitous decline after the second litter. We observed no tumors in virgin mice, although one knockout mouse developed a uterine tumor after pregnancy. Unstimulated virgin female knockout mice showed normal oviductal, ovarian, and uterine histology. Uteri of Arid1a knockout mice showed a normal decidualization response and appropriate responses to estradiol and progesterone stimulation. In vitro studies using primary cultures of human endometrial stromal fibroblasts revealed that small interfering RNA knockdown of ARID1A did not affect decidualization in vitro. Timed pregnancy studies revealed the significant resorption of embryos at Embryonic Day 16.5 in knockout mice in the third pregnancy. In addition to evidence of implantation site hemorrhage, pregnant Arid1a knockout mice showed abnormal placental morphology. These results suggest that Arid1a supports successful pregnancy through its role in placental function.
Project description:Decidualization is a crucial change required for successful embryo implantation and the maintenance of pregnancy. During this process, endometrial stromal cells differentiate into decidual cells in response to the ovarian steroid hormones of early pregnancy. Extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) are known to regulate cell proliferation and apoptosis in multiple cell types, including uterine endometrial cells. Aberrant activation of ERK1/2 has recently been implicated in the pathological processes of endometriosis and endometrial cancer. However, the function of ERK1/2 signaling during implantation and decidualization is still unknown. To determine the role and regulation of ERK1/2 signaling during implantation and decidualization, we examine ERK1/2 signaling in the mouse uterus during early pregnancy using immunostaining and qPCR. Interestingly, levels of phospho-ERK1/2 were highest within decidual cells located at the implantation sites. Expression levels of ERK1/2 target genes were also significantly higher at implantation sites, when compared to either inter-implantation sites. To determine if ERK1/2 signaling is also important during human endometrial decidualization, we examined levels of phospho-ERK1/2 in cultured human endometrial stromal cells during in vitro decidualization. Following treatment with a well-established decidualization-inducing steroidogenic cocktail, levels of phospho-ERK1/2 were markedly increased. Treatment with the ERK1/2 inhibitor, U0126, significantly decreased the expression of the known decidualization marker genes, IGFBP1 and PRL as well as inhibited the induction of known ERK1/2 target genes; FOS, MSK1, STAT1, and STAT3. Interestingly, the phosphorylation level of CCAAT/ enhancer binding protein ? (C/EBP?), a protein previously shown to be critical for decidualization, was significantly reduced in this model. These results suggest that ERK1/2 signaling is required for successful decidualization in mice as well as human endometrial stromal cells and implicates C/EBP? as a downstream target of ERK1/2.
Project description:In women, the corpus luteum is the source of circulating relaxin. No previous studies have addressed whether the corpus luteum is also a relaxin target organ. We determined relaxin receptor LGR7 mRNA expression in human term pregnancy corpora lutea and nonhuman primate corpora lutea obtained during the menstrual cycle. Real-time reverse transcription-PCR demonstrated the expression of LGR7 mRNA in both human and rhesus monkey corpora lutea. Rhesus monkey corpora lutea were obtained from naturally cycling animals following documented luteinizing hormone (LH) surges at early, mid-, mid-late, and late luteal phases. Luteal expression of LGR7 mRNA did not show temporal variation. Since the primate corpus luteum is LH dependent, we assessed LGR7 mRNA expression in corpora lutea from rhesus monkeys treated with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist, which significantly suppressed pituitary LH levels. GnRH antagonist treatment, which also inhibits both progesterone and relaxin production, resulted in a fivefold increase in luteal LGR7 mRNA expression. These data suggest that luteal LGR7 mRNA expression may be regulated by relaxin and/or LH and that the primate corpus luteum is a target organ for relaxin.
Project description:No other tissue in the body undergoes such a vast and extensive growth and remodeling in a relatively short period of time as the primate endometrium. Endometrial integrity is coordinated by ovarian hormones, namely, estrogens, progesterone, and the embryonic hormone chorionic gonadotropin (CG). These regulated events modulate the menstrual cycle and decidualization. The Notch family of transmembrane receptors regulate cellular proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis, cellular processes required to maintain endometrial integrity. In two primate models, the human and the simulated pregnant baboon model, we demonstrated that Notch1 is increased during the window of uterine receptivity, concomitant with CG. Furthermore, CG combined with estrogens and progesterone up-regulate the level of Notch1, whereas progesterone increases the intracellular transcriptionally competent Notch1, which binds in a complex with progesterone receptor. Inhibition of Notch1 prevented decidualization, and alternatively, when decidualization is biochemically recapitulated in vitro, Notch1 is down-regulated. A focused microarray demonstrated that the Notch inhibitor, Numb, dramatically increased when Notch1 decreased during decidualization. We propose that in the endometrium, Notch has a dual role during the window of uterine receptivity. Initially, Notch1 mediates a survival signal in the uterine endometrium in response to CG from the implanting blastocyst and progesterone, so that menstrual sloughing is averted. Subsequently, Notch1 down-regulation may be critical for the transition of stromal fibroblast to decidual cells, which is essential for the establishment of a successful pregnancy.
Project description:The endometrium is a complex, steroid-dependent tissue that undergoes dynamic cyclical remodelling. Transformation of stromal fibroblasts (ESC) into specialised secretory cells (decidualization) is fundamental to the establishment of a receptive endometrial microenvironment which can support and maintain pregnancy. Androgen receptors (AR) are present in ESC; in other tissues local metabolism of ovarian and adrenal-derived androgens regulate AR-dependent gene expression. We hypothesised that altered expression/activity of androgen biosynthetic enzymes would regulate tissue availability of bioactive androgens and the process of decidualization. Primary human ESC were treated in vitro for 1-8 days with progesterone and cAMP (decidualized) in the presence or absence of the AR antagonist flutamide. Time and treatment-dependent changes in genes essential for a) intra-tissue biosynthesis of androgens (5?-reductase/SRD5A1, aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3/AKR1C3), b) establishment of endometrial decidualization (IGFBP1, prolactin) and c) endometrial receptivity (SPP1, MAOA, EDNRB) were measured. Decidualization of ESC resulted in significant time-dependent changes in expression of AKR1C3 and SRD5A1 and secretion of T/DHT. Addition of flutamide significantly reduced secretion of IGFBP1 and prolactin and altered the expression of endometrial receptivity markers. Intracrine biosynthesis of endometrial androgens during decidualization may play a key role in endometrial receptivity and offer a novel target for fertility treatment.