Cellular localization, expression and functional implications of the utero-placental endothelin system during maintenance and termination of canine gestation.
ABSTRACT: Utero-placental (Ut-Pl) angiogenesis and blood flow are fundamental for successful outcome of pregnancy. They are controlled by numerous vasodilator and vasoconstrictor systems such as endothelins (EDNs) and the renin angiotensin system. Dogs possess an invasive type of placentation, classified as endotheliochorial. Despite increasing knowledge regarding canine Ut-Pl function, little information exists on uterine and placental vascular activity during initiation, maintenance and termination of pregnancy in this species. The current study investigated expression of EDNs and their receptors (EDNRA and EDNRB) in the pre-implantation uterus and Ut-Pl compartments during gestation and at normal parturition, as well as in mid-pregnant dogs treated with the antigestagen aglepristone. The Ut-Pl mRNA expression of EDN1 and EDNRA was constant until mid-gestation and increased significantly during prepartum luteolysis. In contrast, EDN2 was highest pre-implantation and decreased following placentation, remaining low thereafter. Expression of the EDN-activating enzyme ECE1 and mRNA of EDNRB increased towards mid-gestation and was further elevated at prepartum luteolysis. Antigestagen treatment resulted in increased levels of EDN1 and EDNRA. At the cellular level, the uterine expression of EDN1, ECE1 and EDNRB was found predominantly in the endometrial surface and glandular epithelial cells; uterine signals for EDNRA were weak. In Ut-Pl all targets were mainly localized in the placenta fetalis, with syncytiotrophoblast staining stronger for ECE1 and EDNRB. In contrast, EDNRA stained strongly at the base of the placental labyrinth. Expression and localization of EDNs (EDN1, -2), EDN receptors and ECE1 in the placenta fetalis suggests their involvement in the trophoblast invasion and proliferation.
Project description:Endothelins (EDNs) are thought to modulate endometrial blood flow during menses, stromal healing and endometrial growth during the proliferative phase. Our goal was to assess the effects of estrogen and progesterone on the EDN paracrine system in the endometrium of rhesus macaques.In this study, archived samples were used. These samples were collected from oophorectomized rhesus macaques that were treated sequentially with estradiol (E(2)) and then E(2) plus progesterone to create artificial menstrual cycles. Endometrium from animals in the menstrual, proliferative and secretory phases of the artificial cycle were analyzed by real-time PCR, in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry to detect changes in EDN peptides (EDN1, EDN2, EDN3), EDN receptors (EDNRA, EDNRB), EDN-converting enzyme 1 (ECE1) and membrane metalloendopeptidase (MME)-an enzyme that degrades the EDNs.Compared with the late secretory phase, progesterone withdrawal at the end of the artificial menstrual cycle triggered an increase (P< 0.05) in EDN1, EDNRB and ECE1 in the upper functionalis zone during menses of the next cycle. Treatment with E(2) alone in the proliferative phase increased (P< 0.05) EDNRA transcript, which was confined predominantly to the stromal cells. E(2) plus progesterone in the artificial secretory phase suppressed (P< 0.05) the expression of EDN3 in the functionalis zone stroma and epithelia, tended (P= 0.08) to attenuate levels of epithelial EDN2 and markedly up-regulated (P< 0.05) the stromal expression of MME.Our results indicate that estrogen and progesterone regulate the EDN family during the menstrual cycle. The changes in the EDN paracrine system during the mid-secretory phase may indicate a role for EDN during embryo implantation.
Project description:Leptin (Lep) is known for its involvement in the regulation of reproductive functions. It is important for uterine receptivity, implantation, placental growth and maternal energy homeostasis in several species, but Lep's function in the pregnant dog has not been investigated.Pregnant bitches were ovariohysterectomized at pre-implantation, post-implantation, mid-gestation and prepartum luteolysis. Two additional groups were treated with aglepristone in mid-gestation, and ovariohysterectomized 24 or 72 h later. Lep and leptin receptor (LepR) gene expression was detected by semi-quantitative real-time PCR in pre-implantation and inter-placental uterine sections (Ut) and in utero-placental compartments (Ut/Pl). Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization (ISH) were performed for Lep and LepR protein and mRNA localization. Parametric one-way ANOVA, paired t-test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test were used for statistical analysis.In the Ut/Pl, Lep expression was higher at post-implantation and prepartum luteolysis than at mid-gestation, while in the Ut, Lep mRNA levels did not change during pregnancy. LepR expression in the Ut/Pl was up-regulated at prepartum luteolysis compared to the earlier stages. In the Ut, highest LepR mRNA was found at pre- and post-implantation. LepR expression was down-regulated in the Ut/Pl compared to the Ut at post-implantation and at mid-gestation. Aglepristone treatment resulted in a decrease of Lep mRNA levels from 24 to 72 h in the Ut without concomitant changes in the Ut/Pl or in LepR levels. Lep and LepR immunoreactivities were strong in the luminal and glandular epithelium in the Ut with abundant LepR signals in the subepithelial stroma. In the Ut/Pl, fetal trophoblasts stained stronger for Lep and LepR than decidual cells, and signals for both proteins were also detected in the glandular chambers. The myometrium, blood vessel media, and sporadically also the endothelium stained for Lep and LepR. ISH showed similar signal distribution in the Ut and Ut/Pl.Lep and LepR are differentially expressed in the canine uterus and placenta during pregnancy, and their presence in various cell types indicates paracrine/autocrine roles. The Lep signaling system may be one of the pathways involved in feto-maternal cross-talk, implantation and maintenance of pregnancy, and may have a regulatory role around parturition.
Project description:In gnathostomes, dorsoventral (D-V) patterning of neural crest cells (NCC) within the pharyngeal arches is crucial for the development of hinged jaws. One of the key signals that mediate this process is Endothelin-1 (EDN1). Loss of EDN1 binding to the Endothelin-A receptor (EDNRA) results in loss of EDNRA signaling and subsequent facial birth defects in humans, mice and zebrafish. A rate-limiting step in this crucial signaling pathway is the conversion of immature EDN1 into a mature active form by Endothelin converting enzyme-1 (ECE1). However, surprisingly little is known about how Ece1 transcription is induced or regulated. We show here that Nkx2.5 is required for proper craniofacial development in zebrafish and acts in part by upregulating ece1 expression. Disruption of nkx2.5 in zebrafish embryos results in defects in both ventral and dorsal pharyngeal arch-derived elements, with changes in ventral arch gene expression consistent with a disruption in Ednra signaling. ece1 mRNA rescues the nkx2.5 morphant phenotype, indicating that Nkx2.5 functions through modulating Ece1 expression or function. These studies illustrate a new function for Nkx2.5 in embryonic development and provide new avenues with which to pursue potential mechanisms underlying human facial disorders.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Endocrine mechanisms governing canine reproductive function remain still obscure. Progesterone (P4) of luteal origin is required for maintenance of pregnancy. Corpora lutea (CL) are gonadotrop-independent during the first third of dioestrus; afterwards prolactin (PRL) is the primary luteotropic factor. Interestingly, the increasing PRL levels are accompanied by decreasing P4 concentrations, thus luteal regression/luteolysis occurs in spite of an increased availability of gonadotropic support. PRL acts through its receptor (PRLr), the expression of which has not yet been thoroughly investigated at the molecular and cellular level in the dog. METHODS: The expression of PRLr was assessed in CL of non-pregnant dogs during the course of dioestrus (days 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 65 post ovulation; p.o.) as well as in CL, the utero/placental compartments (Ut/Pl) and interplacental free polar zones (interplacental sites) from pregnant dogs during the pre-implantation, post-implantation and mid-gestation period of pregnancy and during the normal and antigestagen-induced luteolysis. Expression of PRLr was tested by Real Time PCR, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. RESULTS: In non-pregnant CL the PRLr expression was significantly upregulated at day 15 p.o. and decreased significantly afterwards, towards the end of dioestrus. CL of pregnancy showed elevated PRLr expression until mid gestation while prepartal downregulation was observed. Interestingly, placental but not interplacental expression of PRLr was strongly time-related; a significant upregulation was observed towards mid-gestation. Within the CL PRLr was localized to the luteal cells; in the Ut/Pl it was localized to the fetal trophoblast and epithelial cells of glandular chambers. Moreover, in mid-pregnant animals treated with an antigestagen, both the luteal and placental, but not the uterine PRLr were significantly downregulated. CONCLUSIONS: The data presented suggest that the luteal provision of P4 in both pregnant and non-pregnant dogs may be regulated at the PRLr level. Furthermore, a role of PRL not only in maintaining the canine CL function but also in regulating the placental function is strongly suggested. A possible functional interrelationship between luteal P4 and placental and luteal PRLr expression also with respect to the prepartal luteolysis is implied.
Project description:In the domestic dog, corpora lutea (CL) are the only source of progesterone (P4), both in pregnant and non-pregnant cycles because there is no placental steroidogenesis. The absence of an endogenous luteolysin in absence of pregnancy results in long-lasting physiological pseudopregnancy, strongly contrasting with the acute luteolysis observed prepartum. The underlying biological mechanisms and the involvement of P4 signalling remain, however, not fully understood. Therefore, here, next-generation sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed on CL from the late luteal phase and compared with normally luteolyzing CL collected at the prepartum P4 decrease.The contrast "luteal regression over luteolysis" yielded 1595 differentially expressed genes (DEG). The CL in late luteal regression were predominantly associated with functional terms linked to extracellular matrix (p = 5.52e-05). Other terms related to transcriptional activity (p = 2.45e-04), and steroid hormone signalling (p = 2.29e-04), which were more highly represented in late regression than during luteolysis. The prepartum luteolysis was associated with immune inflammatory responses (p = 2.87e-14), including acute-phase reaction (p = 4.10e-06). Immune system-related events were also more highly represented in CL derived from normal luteolysis (p = 7.02e-04), compared with those from dogs in which luteolysis was induced with an antigestagen (1480 DEG in total). Additionally, the withdrawal of P4 at mid-gestation resulted in 92 DEG; over-represented terms enriched in antigestagen-treated dogs were related to the inflammatory response (p = 0.005) or response to IL1 (p = 7.29e-05). Terms related to proliferation, e.g., centrosome organization (p = 0.002) and steroid metabolic processes (p = 0.001), prevailed at mid-gestation. Thereby, our results revealed the nature of luteotropic effects of P4 within canine CL. It appears that, even though they result in diminished steroidogenic output, the effect of antigestagens is more related to the withdrawal of P4 support than to the PGF2alpha-related inflammatory reaction observed at physiological parturition.We report the differential gene expression associated with maintenance and cessation of luteal function in pregnant and non-pregnant dogs. Based on the differentially expressed genes, we indicate functional pathways and gene networks that are potentially involved in the underlying endocrine and molecular mechanisms. This study establishes future research directions that may be helpful in understanding some of the clinical conditions, such as luteal insufficiency, associated with negative pregnancy outcome in dogs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Endothelin-1 (EDN1) has been involved in the development of airway obstruction and inflammation in asthma. Several polymorphisms have been identified among the genes encoding for preproET1, an inactive precursor of ET-1, and for ETA (EDNRA) and ETB (EDNRB), the two receptors for EDN1. In the present work, we hypothesised that molecular variation in these genes could be a major determinant of the degree of bronchial obstruction. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the genetic polymorphisms of preproET-1, EDNRA and EDNRB genes were associated with the degree of airway obstruction, assessed by FEV1. METHODS: Polymorphisms of preproET-1, EDNRA and EDNRB were first studied in a population of adult asthmatic patients. Results were confirmed in a large population of adults from the general population from the ECRHS II study. RESULTS: In our population of adult asthmatic patients, the EDNRB-30G>A (Leu277Leu) polymorphism (GG genotype) is strongly associated with a low FEV1 and with a higher percentage of patients with FEV1 < 80% of predicted value. No relationship was found between pulmonary function and EDNRA-1363C>T (His323His) or preproET-1-595G>T (Lys198Asp) polymorphism. In the adult population from the ECRHS II, we found a similar association between GG genotype and a low FEV1 or a higher percentage of subjects with FEV1 < 80% predicted, especially in the subgroups of asthmatics subjects (OR = 4.31 (95%CI 1.03 - 18.04)) and smokers (OR = 7.42 (95%CI 1.69 - 32.6)). CONCLUSION: the EDNRB-30G>A polymorphism could be a determinant of airway obstruction in humans with predisposing factors such as tobacco smoke exposure or asthma.
Project description:Next-generation sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed on CL from the late luteal phase and compared with normally luteolyzing CL collected at the prepartum P4 decrease, and following antigestagen (Aglepristone)- treatment. The analysis of transcriptomes presented herein supports the hypothesis describing luteal regression in non-pregnant dogs as a degenerative process devoid of the acute luteolytic principle and without an acute involvement of the immune system observed prepartum. The contribution of the immune system seems, however, to be critical in the PGF2alpha-mediated active prepartum luteolysis, which appears to be an acute immune process. The antigestagen-medited effects point towards the withdrawal of the luteotropic function of P4 with lesser involvement of immune system than during natural luteolysis. In summary, a deeper insights have been obtained into possible endocrine, paracrine and autocrine mechanisms governing the luteal life span in the domestic dog during pregnancy and in non-pregnant cycles. Overall design: Corpora lutea (CL) from clinically healthy, cross-breed bitches (aged 2-8 years) were used representing the following experimental groups: (Group-1) mid-pregnancy (days 35-40); (Group-2) active prepartum luteolysis; (Group-3) antigestagen-treated mid-gestation group (days 40-45); (Group-4) non-pregnant bitches at late CL regression (day 65 after ovulation). In all dogs the time of ovulation was determined by measurements of P4 (> 5ng/ml) and by vaginal histology. Pregnant dogs were mated 2 days after ovulation (Day 0). To determine active prepartum luteolysis (Group-2), P4 concentrations in peripheral blood plasma were measured at 6 h intervals beginning on day 58 of pregnancy; when P4 levels in 3 consecutive measurements decreased below 2-3 ng/ml, the tissue material was collected. In Group 3, prepartum luteolysis/abortion was induced with the antigestagen aglepristone (Alizine; 10mg/Kg bw, 2x/24 h apart) and the tissues were collected 24h after the second application. All dogs underwent routine ovariohysterectomy. For RNA preservation, immediately after surgery the CL tissue were trimmed of surrounding ovarian tissue, washed with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and placed in RNAlater® (Ambion Biotechnologie GmbH, Wiesbaden, Germany) for 24 h at +4°C, and then stored at -80°C until use.
Project description:The presence of endothelial dysfunction (ED) constitutes an early risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in children. Nitric oxide (NO) and endothelin (EDN) are generated in endothelial cells and are critical regulators of vascular function, with ED resulting from an imbalance between these two molecules. We hypothesized that genetic variants in NO synthase and EDN isoforms and its receptors (EDNRA and EDNRB) may account for a proportion of the risk for ED in developing children.Consecutive children (ages 5-10 years) were prospectively recruited from the community. Time to peak post-occlusive reperfusion (Tmax) was considered as the indicator of either normal endothelial function (NEF; Tmax < 45 sec) or ED (Tmax ? 45 sec). Lipid profiles, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fasting glucose and insulin were assayed using ELISA. Genomic DNA from peripheral blood was extracted and genotyped for NOS1 (209 SNPs), NOS2 (122 SNPs), NOS3 (50 SNPs), EDN1 (43 SNPs), EDN2 (48 SNPs), EDN3 (14 SNPs), EDNRA (27 SNPs), and EDNRB (23 SNPs) using a custom SNPs array. Linkage disequilibrium was analyzed using Haploview version 4.2 software.The relative frequencies of SNPs were evaluated in 122 children, 84 with NEF and 38 with ED. The frequencies of NOS1 (11 SNPs), and EDN1 (2 SNPs) were differentially distributed between NEF vs. ED, and no significant differences emerged for all other genes. Significant SNPs for NOS1 and EDN1 SNPs were further validated with RT-PCR.Genetic variants in the NOS1 and EDN1 genes appear to account for important components of the variance in endothelial function, particularly when concurrent risk factors such as obesity exist. Thus, analysis of genotype-phenotype interactions in children at risk for ED will be critical for more accurate formulation of categorical CVD risk estimates.
Project description:Next-generation sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed on canine placenta Placental samples collected at natural prepartum luteolysis were compared with those samples obtained from dogs at mid-pregnancy stage. Furthermore, in order to better understand the involvement of P4 and PGR-dependent downstream regulatory mechanisms during initiation of parturition in the dog, samples derived from dogs in which prepartum luteolysis/abortion was induced with the antigestagen aglepristone at mid-pregnancy, were included. With this approach the aim was to acquire new information that could be translated to clinical and breeding practice for more accurate patient management. The sample set derived from antigestagen-treated dogs was compared with mid-pregnant non-treated group that served as non-treated control. Finally, to identify differences in molecular events occurring in the placenta prior to natural parturition and/or abortion, placental transcriptomes of both groups were compared. Overall design: Placentae from nine (n=9) clinically healthy, cross-breed bitches (aged 2-8 years) were included in this study. Animals were assigned to following experimental groups: 1) mid-gestation (days 35-40 of pregnancy; n=3); 2) natural prepartum luteolysis (n=3); 3) antigestagen-induced luteolysis (n=3). Dogs were mated 2 days after ovulation, which was determined by vaginal cytology and measurements of serum P4 concentrations (> 5ng/ml). Day of mating represented Day 0 of gestation. The time of natural prepartum luteolysis (Group 2) was ascertained by measurements of serum P4 beginning on day 58 of pregnancy, in 6h intervals. Under physiological conditions, parturition in dogs occurs 12-42h following the luteolytic P4 drop. Thus, when P4 levels dropped below 3ng/ml in three consecutive measurements indicating its prepartum decrease, the surgery was performed and the tissue samples were collected. Additionally, abortion was induced in bitches at mid-pregnancy (Group 3) using P4-receptor (PGR) blocker, aglepristone (Alizine®, Virbac, Bad Oldesloe, Germany) in dosage of 10 mg/kg bw, 2 times in 24h interval. The surgery and tissue collections were done 24h after the second treatment. All dogs used for the study were subjected to routine ovariohysterectomy. Following surgery, placentae were separated from uteri, rinsed with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and immersed in RNAlater® for 24h at +4°C. After 24h, tissue material was stored at -80°C until RNA isolation.
Project description:Approaches to prolong responses to BRAF targeting drugs in melanoma patients are challenged by phenotype heterogeneity. Melanomas of a "MITF-high" phenotype usually respond well to BRAF inhibitor therapy, but these melanomas also contain subpopulations of the <i>de novo</i> resistance "AXL-high" phenotype. > 50% of melanomas progress with enriched "AXL-high" populations, and because AXL is linked to de-differentiation and invasiveness avoiding an "AXL-high relapse" is desirable. We discovered that phenotype heterogeneity is supported during the response phase of BRAF inhibitor therapy due to MITF-induced expression of endothelin 1 (EDN1). EDN1 expression is enhanced in tumours of patients on treatment and confers drug resistance through ERK re-activation in a paracrine manner. Most importantly, EDN1 not only supports MITF-high populations through the endothelin receptor B (EDNRB), but also AXL-high populations through EDNRA, making it a master regulator of phenotype heterogeneity. Endothelin receptor antagonists suppress AXL-high-expressing cells and sensitize to BRAF inhibition, suggesting that targeting EDN1 signalling could improve BRAF inhibitor responses without selecting for AXL-high cells.