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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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Yingying Han, Shuhao Zhang, Haotong Zhuang, Sijie Fan, Jiayi Yang, Liwei Zhao, Weidong Bao, Fuli Gao, Haolin Zhang, Zhengrong Yuan, and Qiang Weng

Adiponectin (ADIPOQ, encoded by Adipoq) is an important white adipose-derived adipokine linked to energy homeostasis and reproductive function. This study aims to reveal the expression and role of the adiponectin system in the ovaries under acute malnutrition. In this study, 48-h food deprivation significantly inhibited ovarian growth by suppressing cell proliferation and inducing cell apoptosis in the ovaries of gonadotrophin-primed immature mice. It was also accompanied by significantly decelerated basic metabolism (glucose, triacylglycerol and cholesterol), varied steroid hormones (follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and estradiol) and vanishment of the peri-ovarian fat. It is noteworthy that after acute fasting, the adiponectin levels in ovaries rather than in blood were significantly elevated. Immunohistochemical study demonstrated that adiponectin and its receptors (ADIPOR1 and ADIPOR2) primarily appeared in ovarian somatic and/or germ cells, and their protein expressions were upregulated in the ovaries from fasted mice. Further in vitro study verified that ADIPOR1/2 agonist obviously inhibited follicle-stimulating hormone-induced oocyte meiotic resumption, while the antagonist significantly enhanced the percentage of oocyte maturation in the absence of follicle-stimulating hormone. Furthermore, the build up of peri-ovarian fat under physiological status in mice showed a positive correlation with both the hypertrophy of adipocytes and growth of ovaries. Taken together, these findings indicate that the upregulation of the adiponectin system disturbs the normal female reproductive function under the malnutrition status, and it may be associated with the loss of peri-ovarian fat depots.