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Malena Schanton, Julieta L Maymó, Antonio Pérez-Pérez, Víctor Sánchez-Margalet, and Cecilia L Varone

Leptin is a homeostatic regulator in the placenta where it promotes proliferation, protein synthesis and the expression of tolerogenic maternal response molecules such as HLA-G. Leptin also exerts an anti-apoptotic action in placenta controlling the expression of p53 master cell cycle regulator under different stress conditions. On the other hand, leptin is an integrative target of different placental stimuli. The expression of leptin in placenta is regulated by hCG, insulin, steroids, hypoxia and many other growth hormones, suggesting that it might have an important endocrine function in the trophoblastic cells. The leptin expression is induced involving the cAMP/PKA or cAMP/Epac pathways which have profound actions upon human trophoblast function. The activation of PI3K and MAPK pathways also participates in the leptin expression. Estrogens play a central role during pregnancy, particularly 17β-estradiol upregulates the leptin expression in placental cells through genomic and non-genomic actions. The leptin promoter analysis reveals specific elements that are active in placental cells. The transcription factors CREB, AP1, Sp1, NFκB and the coactivator CBP are involved in the placental leptin expression. Moreover, placental leptin promoter is a target of epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation and histone acetylation that regulates not only the leptin expression in placenta during pregnancy but also determines the predisposition of acquiring adult metabolism diseases. Taken together, all these results allow a better understanding of leptin function and regulatory mechanisms of leptin expression in human placental trophoblasts, and support the importance of leptin during pregnancy and in programming adult health.

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Malena Schanton, Julieta Maymó, María Fernanda Camisay, Antonio Pérez-Pérez, Roberto Casale, Víctor Sánchez-Margalet, Alejandra Erlejman, and Cecilia Varone

Pregnancy success requires a proper fetal maternal interaction at the establishment of implantation. Leptin has been described as a multitasking cytokine in pregnancy, particularly in the placenta, where it acts as an autocrine hormone. The expression of leptin in normal trophoblastic cells is regulated by different endogenous signals. We have previously reported that 17β-estradiol upregulates placental leptin expression through genomic and non-genomic mechanisms. To improve the knowledge of estrogen receptor mechanisms in regulating leptin gene expression, we examined transcription nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) effect on estradiol leptin induction in human BeWo cell line and human term placental explants. We demonstrated that estradiol induction effect on leptin expression is blocked by the inhibition of NFκB signaling. We also found that the overexpression of p65 subunit, the active form of NFκB, induces leptin expression. Moreover, downregulation of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), through a specific siRNA, abolished NFκB effect on leptin expression. We also demonstrated that ERα enhanced NFκB signaling pathway activation in trophoblastic cells. Estradiol treatment significantly increased p65 expression and phosphorylation of the inhibitory protein κB alpha (IκBα). A reporter plasmid containing NFκB elements was also induced in response to estradiol stimulation. Localization experiments revealed that estradiol treatment induced nuclear localization of overexpressed p65. Moreover, the overexpression of ERα produced a complete displacement of p65 protein to the nucleus. Finally, immunoprecipitation experiments showed the presence of a complex containing ERα and NFκB. All these evidences suggest a cooperative behavior between ERα and NFκB transcription factors to induce leptin transcription.

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Thais Rose dos Santos Hamilton, Letícia Signori de Castro, Juliana de Carvalho Delgado, Patrícia Monken de Assis, Adriano Felipe Perez Siqueira, Camilla Mota Mendes, Marcelo Demarchi Goissis, Teresa Muiño-Blanco, José Álvaro Cebrián-Pérez, Marcílio Nichi, José Antonio Visintin, and Mayra Elena Ortiz D'Ávila Assumpção

Action of reactive oxygen species, protamination failures and apoptosis are considered the most important etiologies of sperm DNA fragmentation. This study evaluated the effects of induced lipid peroxidation susceptibility on native semen profile and identified the mechanisms involved in sperm DNA fragmentation and testicular antioxidant defense on Santa Ines ram sperm samples. Semen was collected from 12 adult rams (Ovis aries) performed weekly over a 9-week period. Sperm analysis (motility, mass motility, abnormalities, membrane and acrosome status, mitochondrial potential, DNA fragmentation, lipid peroxidation and intracellular free radicals production); protamine deficiency; PRM1, TNP1 and TNP2 gene expression; and determination of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase, catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase activity and immunodetection in seminal plasma were performed. Samples were distributed into four groups according to the sperm susceptibility to lipid peroxidation after induction with ascorbate and ferrous sulfate (low, medium, high and very high). The results were analyzed by GLM test and post hoc least significant difference. We observed an increase in native GPx activity and CAT immunodetection in groups with high susceptibility to induced lipid peroxidation. We also found an increase in total sperm defects, acrosome and membrane damages in the group with the highest susceptibility to induced lipid peroxidation. Additionally, the low mitochondrial membrane potential, susceptible to chromatin fragmentation and the PRM1 mRNA were increased in the group showing higher susceptibility to lipid peroxidation. Ram sperm susceptibility to lipid peroxidation may compromise sperm quality and interfere with the oxidative homeostasis by oxidative stress, which may be the main cause of chromatin damage in ram sperm.

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Renata Simões, Weber Beringui Feitosa, Adriano Felipe Perez Siqueira, Marcilio Nichi, Fabíola Freitas Paula-Lopes, Mariana Groke Marques, Maria Angélica Peres, Valquíria Hyppolito Barnabe, José Antônio Visintin, and Mayra Elena Ortiz Assumpção

Sperm chromatin fragmentation may be caused by a number of factors, the most significant of which is reactive oxygen species. However, little is known about the effect of sperm oxidative stress (OS) on DNA integrity, fertilization, and embryonic development in cattle. Therefore, the goal of this study was to evaluate the influence of sperm OS susceptibility on the DNA fragmentation rate and in vitro embryo production (IVP) in a population of bulls. Groups of cryopreserved sperm samples were divided into four groups, based on their susceptibility to OS (G1, low OS; G2, average OS; G3, high OS; and G4, highest OS). Our results demonstrated that the sperm DNA integrity was compromised in response to increased OS susceptibility. Furthermore, semen samples with lower susceptibility to OS were also less susceptible to DNA damage (G1, 4.06%; G2, 6.09%; G3, 6.19%; and G4, 6.20%). In addition, embryo IVP provided evidence that the embryo cleavage rate decreased as the OS increased (G1, 70.18%; G2, 62.24%; G3, 55.85%; and G4, 50.93%), but no significant difference in the blastocyst rate or the number of blastomeres was observed among the groups. The groups with greater sensitivity to OS were also associated with a greater percentage of apoptotic cells (G1, 2.6%; G2, 2.76%; G3, 5.59%; and G4, 4.49%). In conclusion, we demonstrated that an increased susceptibility to OS compromises sperm DNA integrity and consequently reduces embryo quality.