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  • Author: K. Yang x
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Q Qiu, M Yang, B K Tsang and A Gruslin

Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is present in the maternal-fetal environment and has an important role in placental development. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression/activation is a pre-requisite in extravillous trophoblast invasion. Whereas EGF up-regulates MMP-9 activity in a variety of cell types, there is no direct evidence for the stimulation of MMP-9 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) secretion by EGF in extravillous trophoblasts. In addition, the signalling pathways involved in this regulation are not clear. In the present study, we have examined the possible involvement of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways in the regulation of the MMP-9/TIMP-1 system by EGF in vitro. We used a well-established invasive extravillous trophoblast cell line (HTR8/Svneo) and measured gene and protein expression by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and western analysis respectively. MMP activity was determined by zymography. We showed for the first time that EGF activated both PI3K/Akt and MAPK/extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) signalling in HTR8/SVneo, and increased both MMP-9 and TIMP-1 mRNAs and protein concentrations. Interfering with either signalling pathway via PI3K inhibitor LY294002 or MEK inhibitor U0126 in EGF-stimulated HTR8/SVneo cells blocked the induction of MMP-9 and TIMP-1. LY294002 inhibited Akt phosphorylation, but had no effect on ERK phosphorylation; U0126 suppressed ERK phosphorylation without interfering with the phosphorylation of Akt. In addition, expression of constitutively active Akt (Myr-Akt1, Myr-Akt2, Myr-Akt3) was not sufficient to induce proMMP-9 and TIMP-1 secretion. Our results suggest that the activation of both PI3K and MAPK pathways in extravillous trophoblasts is necessary for the up-regulation of MMP-9 and TIMP-1 expression by EGF.

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Ying Fang, Hsun-Ming Chang, Jung-Chien Cheng, Christian Klausen, Peter C K Leung and Xiaokui Yang

Lysyl oxidase (LOX), a key enzyme in the formation and stabilization of the extracellular matrix, is expressed in granulosa cells and plays a critical role in the regulation of granulosa cell differentiation, oocyte maturation and ovulation. To date, the regulation of LOX expression in human granulosa cells remains largely unknown. In this study, using primary and immortalized human granulosa lutein cells, we demonstrated that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 (TGFB1) upregulated LOX expression and downregulated microRNA-29a (MIR29A) expression via a TGF-β type I receptor-mediated signaling pathway. Additionally, we showed that MIR29A downregulated the expression of LOX in both types of cells. Furthermore, the downregulation of MIR29A contributed to the TGFB1-induced increase in LOX expression because the inhibition of MIR29A with a MIR29A inhibitor not only reversed the MIR29A-induced downregulation of LOX but also enhanced the TGFB1-induced upregulation of LOX. Our findings suggest that TGFB1 and MIR29A may play essential roles in the regulation of extracellular matrix remodeling during the periovulatory phase.

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Y Du, C S Pribenszky, M Molnár, X Zhang, H Yang, M Kuwayama, A M Pedersen, K Villemoes, L Bolund and G Vajta

The purpose of the present study was to improve cryotolerance using high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) pretreatment of porcine in vitro matured (IVM) oocytes, to facilitate their further developmental competence after parthenogenetic activation. A total of 1668 porcine IVM oocytes were used in our present study. The pressure tolerance and optimal duration of recovery after HHP treatment were determined. Oocytes were treated with either 20 or 40 MPa (200 and 400 times greater than atmospheric pressure) for 60 min, with an interval of 10, 70, and 130 min between pressure treatment and subsequent vitrification under each pressure parameter. Oocytes from all vitrification groups had much lower developmental competence than fresh oocytes (P<0.01) measured as cleavage and blastocyst rates. However, significantly higher blastocyst rates (P<0.01) were obtained in the groups of 20 MPa pressure, with either 70 (11.4±2.4%) or 130 (13.1±3.2%) min recovery, when compared with the vitrification control group without HHP treatment where no blastocysts were obtained. The influence of temperature at HHP treatment on further embryo development was also investigated. Treatments of 20 MPa with 70 min recovery were performed at 37 °C or 25 °C. Oocytes pressurized at 37 °C had a significantly higher blastocyst (14.1±1.4%) rate than those treated at 25 °C (5.3±1.1%; P<0.01). Our results demonstrate that HHP pretreatment could considerably improve the developmental competence of vitrified pig in vitro matured (IVM) oocytes. The HHP pretreatment will be tested as a means to improve survival and developmental competence at different developmental stages in different species including humans.