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Jing Cong, Hong-Lu Diao, Yue-Chao Zhao, Hua Ni, Yun-Qin Yan and Zeng-Ming Yang

It has been shown that both prostaglandin I2 (PGI2) and PGE2 are essential for mouse implantation, whereas only PGE2 is required for hamster implantation. To date, the expression and regulation of cyclooxygenase (COX) and prostaglandin E synthase (PGES), which are responsible for PGE2 production, have not been reported in the rat. The aim of this study was to examine the expression pattern and regulation of COX-1, COX-2, membrane-associated PGES-1 (mPGES-1), mPGES-2 and cytosolic PGES (cPGES) in rat uterus during early pregnancy and pseudopregnancy, and under delayed implantation. At implantation site on day 6 of pregnancy, COX-1 immunostaining was highly visible in the luminal epithelium, and COX-2 immunostaining was clearly observed in the subluminal stroma. Both mPGES-1 mRNA and protein were only observed in the subluminal stroma surrounding the implanting blastocyst at the implantation site on day 6 of pregancy , but were not seen in the inter-implantation site on day 6 of pregnancy and on day 6 of pseudopregnancy. Our data suggest that the presence of an active blastocyst is required for mPGES-1 expression at the implantation site. When pregnant rats on day 5 were treated with nimesulide for 24 h, mPGES-1 protein expression was completely inhibited. cPGES immunostaining was clearly observed in the luminal epithelium and subluminal stromal cells immediately surrounding the implanting blastocyst on day 6 of pregnancy. mPGES-2 immunostaining was clearly seen in the luminal epithelium at the implantation site. Additionally, immunostaining for prostaglandin I synthase (PGIS) was also strongly detected at the implantation site. In conclusion, our results indicate that PGE2 and PGI2 should have a very important role in rat implantation.

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Yu-Xiang Liang, Wei Hu, Zhi-Yong Jin, Hong-Lu Diao, Li Liu, Yan Yang, Tao Fu and Zeng-Ming Yang

Embryo implantation and decidualization are crucial steps during early pregnancy. We recently showed that nucleolar stress is involved in embryo implantation. This study was to explore whether nucleolar stress participates in mouse and human decidualization. Our data demonstrated that a low-dose of actinomycin D (ActD) could induce nucleolar stress in stroma cells. Nucleolar stress promotes the stromal-epithelial transition during mouse in vitro decidualization through nucleophosmin1 (NPM1). Under nucleolar stress, Wnt family member 4 (Wnt4), a decidualization marker, is significantly increased, but decidua/trophoblast prolactin-related protein (Dtprp/Prl8a2) expression remains unchanged. For translational significance, we also examined effects of nucleolar stress on human decidualization. Nucleolar stress stimulated by a low-dose of ActD enhances human stromal-epithelial transition during human decidualization, but has no effects on the expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP1). Our study indicates that nucleolar stress may promote only the mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET), but not for all the molecular changes during decidualization.

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Tong Sun, Shi-Jie Li, Hong-Lu Diao, Chun-Bo Teng, Hong-Bin Wang and Zeng-Ming Yang

Cyclooxygenase (COX), a rate-limiting enzyme that produces prostaglandins (PGs) from arachidonic acid, exists in two isoforms, COX-1 and COX-2. PGE2 synthase (PGES) is a terminal prostanoid synthase and can enzymatically convert the cyclooxygenase product PGH2 to PGE2, including two isoforms: microsomal PGES (mPGES) and cytosolic PGES (cPGES). cPGES is predominantly linked with COX-1 to promote the immediate response. mPGES is preferentially coupled with the inducible COX-2 to promote delayed PGE2 generation. COX-2-deficient female mice are infertile with abnormalities in ovulation, fertilization, implantation and decidualization. The aim of this study was to examine immunohistochemically the expression pattern of COX-1, COX-2, mPGES and cPGES proteins in the endometrium of the rhesus monkey during the menstrual cycle. COX-1 immunostaining was mainly localized in the luminal epithelium and glandular epithelium near the lumen, and detected in all the stages during the menstrual cycle. COX-2 immunostaining was mainly localized in the luminal and glandular epithelium, and strongly shown during the mid-luteal phase (days 16 and 20) of the menstrual cycle. There was a strong cPGES immunostaining in the luminal and glandular epithelium on days 12, 16, 20 and 25 of the menstrual cycle. mPGES immunostaining was strongly detected in the glandular epithelium on days 20 and 25 of the menstrual cycle. These data suggest that the coupling of cPGES and COX-1 in the luminal epithelium may be responsible for the synthesis of PGE2 in monkey endometrium, and the coupling of mPGES and COX-2 in the glandular epithelium may be of importance for preparing the receptive endometrium.

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Tao Yu, Shuai Lin, Rui Xu, Tian-Xi Du, Yang Li, Hui Gao, Hong-Lu Diao and Xiu-Hong Zhang

Embryo implantation is a crucial step for the successful establishment of mammalian pregnancy. Cyclophilin A (CYPA) is a ubiquitously expressed intracellular protein and is secreted in response to inflammatory stimuli to regulate diverse cellular functions. However, there are currently no reports about the role of CYPA in embryo implantation. Here, we examine the expression pattern of CYPA during mouse early pregnancy and explore the potential role of CYPA during implantation. CYPA is expressed in the subluminal stroma surrounding the implanting blastocyst on day 5 of pregnancy, but not at inter-implantation sites. In ovariectomized mice, estrogen and progesterone significantly stimulate CYPA expression. When pregnant mice are injected intraperitoneally with CYPA inhibitor, the numbers of implantation sites are significantly reduced. Using an in vitro stromal cell culture system, Ppia siRNA knockdown of CYPA and CYPA-specific inhibitor treatment partially inhibits levels of CD147, MMP3 and MMP9. Decreased CYPA expression also significantly inhibits Stat3 activity and expands estrogen responsiveness. Taken together, CYPA may play an important role during mouse embryo implantation.

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Chun-Bo Teng, Hong-Lu Diao, Hong Ma, Jing Cong, Hao Yu, Xing-Hong Ma, Li-Bin Xu and Zeng-Ming Yang

Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3), a member of the Stat family, is specifically activated during mouse embryo implantation. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression, activation and regulation of Stat3 in rat uterus during early pregnancy, pseudopregnancy, delayed implantation and artificial decidualization. Stat3 mRNA was highly expressed in the luminal epithelium on day 5 and in the luminal epithelium and underlying stromal cells at implantation sites on day 6 of pregnancy. There was a strong level of Stat3 protein expression and phosphorylation in the stromal cells near the lumen and in the luminal epithelium on day 5 of pregnancy, which was similar to day 5 of pseudopregnancy. In the afternoon of day 6, the strong level of Stat3 phosphorylation was detected only in the luminal epithelium. Stat3 was highly expressed and activated in the decidual cells from days 7 to 9 of pregnancy and under artificial decidualization in the present study. Our results suggest that the strong level of Stat3 activation in the luminal epithelium and underlying stromal cells during the pre-implantation period may be important for establishing uterine receptivity as in mice, and the high level of Stat3 expression and activation in decidual cells may play a role during decidualization.