|Analysis of fertility-related soluble mediators in human uterine fluid identifies VEGF as a key regulator of embryo implantation.|
N J Hannan,P Paiva,K L Meehan,L J F Rombauts,D K Gardner,L A Salamonsen
Embryo implantation requires synchronized dialogue between the receptive endometrium and activated blastocyst via locally produced soluble mediators. During the midsecretory (MS) phase of the menstrual cycle, increased glandular secretion into the uterine lumen contains important mediators that modulate the endometrium and support the conceptus during implantation. This study aimed first to identify the growth factor and cytokine profile of human uterine fluid from fertile women during the midproliferative (MP; nonreceptive) and MS (receptive) phases of the cycle, and from women with unexplained infertility during the MS phase. The second aim was to determine important functions of endometrial secretions for embryo implantation. Analysis of uterine fluid using quantitative Luminex assays revealed the presence of over 30 cytokines and growth factors, of which eight [platelet-derived growth factor-AA, TNF-B, soluble IL-2 receptor-A, Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand, soluble CD40 ligand, IL-7, interferon-A2, and chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1-3] were previously unknown in human uterine fluid. Comparison of the fertile MP, MS, and infertile MS cohorts revealed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels are significantly reduced in uterine fluid during the MS phase in women with unexplained infertility compared with fertile women. Functional studies demonstrated that culturing mouse embryos with either MS-phase uterine fluid from fertile women or recombinant human VEGF significantly enhanced blastocyst outgrowth. Furthermore, treatment of human endometrial epithelial cells with uterine fluid or recombinant human VEGF-A significantly increased endometrial epithelial cell adhesion. Taken together, our data support the concept that endometrial secretions, including VEGF, play important roles during implantation. Identifying the soluble mediators in human uterine fluid and their actions during implantation provides insight into interactions essential for establishing pregnancy, fertility markers, and infertility treatment options.
|CX3CL1 and CCL14 regulate extracellular matrix and adhesion molecules in the trophoblast: potential roles in human embryo implantation.|
Natalie J Hannan,Lois A Salamonsen
Biology of reproduction
Embryo implantation is a complex process involving blastocyst attachment to the endometrial epithelium and subsequent trophoblast invasion of the decidua. We have previously shown that the chemokines CX3CL1 and CCL14 are abundant in endometrial vasculature, epithelial, and decidual cells at this time, and that their receptors, CX3CR1 and CCR1, are present on invading human trophoblasts. CX3CL1 and CCL14 promote trophoblast migration. We hypothesized that these endometrial chemokines promote trophoblast migration by regulating adhesion molecules and extracellular matrix (ECM) components on the trophoblast, similar to mechanisms used in leukocyte trafficking. Trophoblast cells (AC1M-88) used previously showed a marked increase in adhesion to fibronectin following treatment with CX3CL1 and CCL14. Alterations in trophoblast adhesion and ECM following chemokine stimulation were examined using pathway-specific oligo-arrays and quantitative real-time RT-PCR. More than 30 genes were affected by CX3CL1 treatment, and 15 genes were found to be regulated by CCL14 treatment. Real-time RT-PCR quantitation revealed significant changes in the mRNA transcripts of alpha-catenin (CTNNA1), extracellular matrix protein 1 (ECM1), osteopontin (SPP1), integrin alpha 6 (ITGA6), matrix metalloproteinase 12 (MMP12), and integrin beta 5 (ITGB5) following chemokine treatment. Several of these genes have previously been implicated in implantation. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of integrin alpha 6 and SPP1 protein in first-trimester human implantation sites. The temporal and spatial expression of chemokines, their receptors, adhesion, and ECM at the maternal-fetal interface emphasizes an important role in the controlled directional migration of trophoblasts through the maternal decidua. For the first time, this study demonstrates the direct effects of CX3CL1 and CCL14 on trophoblast adhesion molecules and ECM, suggesting mechanisms by which trophoblast cells migrate during early pregnancy.