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Sha Peng State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Jing Li State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Chenglin Miao State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Liwei Jia State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Zeng Hu State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Ping Zhao State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Juxue Li State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Ying Zhang State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Qi Chen State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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Enkui Duan State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China and

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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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Xin Wen Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China
Department of Pediatric Urology, Key Laboratory of Children Genitourinary Diseases of Wenzhou City, Key Laboratory of Structural Malformations in Children of Zhejiang Province, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Jiexia Wang Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China
Department of Pediatric Urology, Key Laboratory of Children Genitourinary Diseases of Wenzhou City, Key Laboratory of Structural Malformations in Children of Zhejiang Province, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Mengjie Qin Department of Pharmacology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Hu Wang Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Jingfeng Xu Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Xiaoju Guan Department of Pediatric Urology, Key Laboratory of Children Genitourinary Diseases of Wenzhou City, Key Laboratory of Structural Malformations in Children of Zhejiang Province, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Dan Shan Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Panpan Chen Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Jiajia Xie Department of Pharmacology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Jingjing Shao Department of Pharmacology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Ping Duan Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Congde Chen Department of Pediatric Urology, Key Laboratory of Children Genitourinary Diseases of Wenzhou City, Key Laboratory of Structural Malformations in Children of Zhejiang Province, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Haolin Chen Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China
Department of Pediatric Urology, Key Laboratory of Children Genitourinary Diseases of Wenzhou City, Key Laboratory of Structural Malformations in Children of Zhejiang Province, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China
Department of Pharmacology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China
Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China

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In brief

Progenitor cells with ovulation-related tissue repair activity were identified with defined markers (LGR5, EPCR, LY6A, and PDGFRA), but their potentials to form steroidogenic cells were not known. This study shows that the cells can generate progenies with different steroidogenic activities.

Abstract

Adult mammalian ovaries contain stem/progenitor cells necessary for folliculogenesis and ovulation-related tissue rupture repair. Theca cells are recruited and developed from progenitors during the folliculogenesis. Theca cell progenitors were not well defined. The aim of current study is to compare the potentials of four ovarian progenitors with defined markers (LY6A, EPCR, LGR5, and PDGFRA) to form steroidogenic theca cells in vitro. The location of the progenitors with defined makers was determined by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence staining of ovarian sections of adult mice. Different progenitor populations were purified by magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) and/or fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) techniques from ovarian cell preparation and were tested for their abilities to generate steroidogenic theca cells in vitro. The cells were differentiated with a medium containing LH, ITS, and DHH agonist for 12 days. The results showed that EPCR+ and LGR5+ cells primarily distributed along the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE), while LY6A+ cells distributed in both the OSE and parenchyma. However, PDGFRA+ cells were exclusively located in interstitial compartment. When the progenitors were purified by these markers and differentiated in vitro, LY6A+ and PDGFRA+ cells formed steroidogenic cells expressing both CYP11A1 and CYP17A1 and primarily producing androgens, showing characteristics of theca-like cells, while LGR5+ cells generated steroidogenic cells devoid of CYP17A1 expression and androgen production, showing a characteristic of progesterone-producing cells (granulosa- or lutea-like cells). In conclusion, progenitors from both OSE and parenchyma of adult mice are capable of generating steroidogenic cells with different steroidogenic capacities, showing a possible lineage preference.

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