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Sha Peng, Jing Li, Chenglin Miao, Liwei Jia, Zeng Hu, Ping Zhao, Juxue Li, Ying Zhang, Qi Chen and Enkui Duan

Dickkopf-1 (Dkk1) is one of the secreted antagonists in the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. It plays important roles in diverse developmental processes. However, the role of Dkk1 in trophoblast cell invasion during placentation remains unclear. In this study, we found that Dkk1 was mainly expressed in maternal decidual tissue but trivially in ectoplacental cones (EPCs) in day 8 post coitum (p.c.) pregnant mouse uterus and that the efficiency of EPC attachment and outgrowth was increased when co-cultured with decidual cells, which secreted Dkk1, and this enhancement was abolished by pretreating decidual cells with Dkk1 blocking antibody before co-culture experiment. This indicates that Dkk1 secreted by decidual cells plays an important role in trophoblast cell invasion. Indeed, when recombinant mouse Dkk1 was added to EPCs in vitro, the efficiency of attachment and outgrowth was increased. Migration of EPCs toward the decidua was retarded when antisense Dkk1 oligonucleotide (ODN) was administered via intrauterine injection in vivo. Furthermore, the active β-catenin nuclear location was lost when we treated cultured EPCs with recombinant mouse Dkk1, and the efficiency of EPCs attachment and outgrowth was obviously increased when we treated cultured EPCs with antisense β-catenin ODN. Taken together, Dkk1 secreted by decidual cells may induce trophoblast cell invasion in the mouse and β-catenin may be involved in such functions of Dkk1.

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Jun Shao, Mingzhi Zhao, Mancy Tong, Jia Wei, Michelle R Wise, Peter Stone, Lawrence Chamley and Qi Chen

Preeclampsia is triggered by an as yet unknown toxin from the placenta. Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), a strong risk factor for preeclampsia, have been shown to induce the production of toxic trophoblastic debris from the placenta. High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is a proinflammatory danger signal, and the expression of it has been reported to be increased in preeclampsia. This study examined whether aPL or preeclamptic sera increase the expression of HMGB1 in the syncytiotrophoblast or trophoblastic debris. Trophoblastic debris from normal placental explants that had been cultured with aPL or preeclamptic sera was exposed to endothelial cells. Endothelial cell activation was quantified by cell-surface ICAM-1 expression and U937 monocyte adhesion. The expression of HMGB1 in placental explants and trophoblastic debris that had been treated with aPL or preeclamptic sera was measured by immunohistochemistry and western blotting. The expression of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) in endothelial cells was quantified by western blotting. Compared with controls, the expression of HMGB1 in the cytoplasm of the syncytiotrophoblast and trophoblastic debris was increased by treating placental explants with aPL or preeclamptic sera. The increased levels of HMGB1 contributed to endothelial cell activation, mediated in part by the RAGE. Preeclamptic sera and aPL both induced an increase in the cytoplasmic levels of the danger signal HMGB1 in trophoblastic debris. This increased HMGB1 in trophoblastic debris may be one of the toxic factors released from the placenta in preeclampsia.

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Shengxian Li, Jia Qi, Yongzhen Tao, Qinling Zhu, Rong Huang, Yu Liao, Jiang Yue, Wei Liu, Hanting Zhao, Huiyong Yin and Yun Sun

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in reproductive-age women usually accompanied by lipid metabolic disorders. However, it remains unknown whether arachidonic acid (AA) and its metabolites in follicular fluid (FF) were altered in PCOS patients. This study was intended to measure the levels of AA and its metabolites in the FF of non-obese PCOS patients that underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) and to explore the possible causes of the alterations. Thirty-nine non-obese women with PCOS and 30 non-obese women without PCOS were enrolled. AA and its metabolites were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The levels of AA metabolites generated via cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) pathway and cytochrome P450 epoxygenase pathway but not lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway were significantly higher in the FF of PCOS patients. The metabolites generated via COX-2 pathway were significantly correlated with levels of testosterone and fasting insulin in serum. The in vitro study further demonstrated that insulin but not testosterone could promote the IL-1β and hCG-induced COX-2 expression and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) secretion in primary human granulosa cells. In conclusion, there was an elevation in AA metabolites in FF of PCOS patients. Insulin played a pivotal role in the increased AA metabolites generated via COX-2, which could be interpreted as another novel molecular pathophysiological mechanism of PCOS.