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Qi-Tao Huang, Oksana Shynlova, Mark Kibschull, Mei Zhong, Yan-Hong Yu, Stephen G Matthews, and Stephen J Lye

Uterine tissues contain the efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp, encoded by Abcb1a/1b gene), but little is known about how it changes through gestation. Our aim was to investigate the expression profile and cellular localization of P-gp in the pregnant, laboring and post-partum (PP) rat uterus. We propose that during pregnancy the mechanical and hormonal stimuli play a role in regulating myometrial Abcb1a/1b/P-gp. Samples from bilaterally and unilaterally pregnant rats were collected throughout gestation, during labor, and PP (n=4–6/gestational day). RNA and protein were isolated and subjected to quantitative PCR and immunoblotting; P-gp transcript and protein were localized by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Expression of Abcb1a/1b gene and membrane P-gp protein in uterine tissue (1) increased throughout gestation, peaked at term (GD19-21) and dropped during labor (GD23L); and (2) was upregulated only in gravid but not in empty horn of unilaterally pregnant rats. (3) The drop of Abcb1a/1b mRNA on GD23 was prevented by artificial maintenance of elevated progesterone (P4) levels in late gestation; (4) injection of the P4 receptor antagonist RU486 on GD19 caused a significant decrease in Abcb1 mRNA levels. (5) In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry indicated that Abcb1/P-gp is absent from myometrium throughout gestation; (6) was expressed exclusively by uterine microvascular endothelium (at early gestation) and luminal epithelium (at mid and late gestation), but was undetectable during labor. In conclusion, ABC transporter protein P-gp in pregnant uterus is hormonally and mechanically regulated. However, its substrate(s) and precise function in these tissues during pregnancy remains to be determined.

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Ning Wang, Liya Wang, Fang Le, Qitao Zhan, Yingming Zheng, Guolian Ding, Xijing Chen, Jianzhong Sheng, Minyue Dong, Hefeng Huang, and Fan Jin

Despite the efforts to recapitulate the follicle environment, oocytes from in vitro maturation (IVM) have poorer developmental potential than those matured in vivo and the effects on the resultant offspring are of concern. The aim of this study was to determine altered gene expression in oocytes following IVM and to evaluate the expression of the arginine rich, mutated in early stage of tumors gene (Armet) and mitochondrial ribosomal protein L51 (Mrpl51) in embryos and brains of fetal/postnatal mice and the brain development of IVM offspring. An IVM mouse model was established while oocytes matured in vivo were used as the controls. Suppressive subtractive hybridization (SSH) and RT-PCR/western blot were used to analyze the differential expression of genes/proteins between IVM and the control group. HE staining and water maze were used to assess the histological changes in brain tissue and cognition of the offspring. The rates of fertilization, cleavage, and live birth were significantly decreased in IVM group. Thirteen genes were upregulated in IVM oocytes compared with the control, including Armet and Mrpl51. The higher level of Armet in IVM oocytes was retained in brain of newborn mice, which could be related to the upregulation of activating transcription factor 6 (Atf6) and X-box binding protein 1 (Xbp1), while Mrpl51 was expressed normally in brain of postnatal mice. No significant differences were detected in brain weight, neuronal counts, and the cognition in the offspring between the two groups. The present results suggested that IVM could affect the pregnancy outcome and the Armet and Mrpl51 gene/protein expression. The change in Armet expression lasted while the change of Mrpl51 disappeared after birth. However, the brain development of the offspring seemed to be unaffected by IVM.

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Junfang Shi, Mengtian Yang, Xin Cao, Qitao Huang, Fang He, You Peng, Jinru Cui, Wenqian Chen, Yiming Xu, Wenyan Geng, Laixin Xia, Dunjin Chen, and Shan Xiao

In brief

Placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) has an urgent need for reliable prenatal biomarkers. This study profiled the circular RNAs (circRNAs) in PAS placenta and maternal blood and identified two circRNAs can regulate trophoblast cells invasion and serve as noninvasive prenatal biomarkers for PAS prediction.


PAS is one of the most alarming obstetric diseases with high mortality rates. The regulating mechanism underlying PAS remains to be investigated, and reliable blood biomarkers for PAS have not emerged. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have become important regulators and biomarkers for disparate human diseases. However, the circRNA profiles of PAS were not reported, and the regulatory role and predictive value of circRNAs in PAS were unknown. Here, we comprehensively profiled the circRNAs in the placenta of PAS by transcriptome sequencing and analysis and uncovered 217 abnormally expressed circRNAs. Through competing endogenous RNA network analysis, we found that the target genes of upregulated circRNAs in PAS were enriched in placenta development-related pathways and further uncovered two circRNAs, circPHACTR4 and circZMYM4, that could regulate trophoblast cells invasion and migration in vitro. Finally, we verified that circPHACTR4 and circZMYM4 were also upregulated in the maternal peripheral blood of PAS women before delivery using transcriptome sequencing and RT-qPCR and evaluated their predictive value by ROC curves. We found that circPHACTR4 and circZMYM4 could serve as effective predicting biomarkers for PAS (area under the curve (AUC): 0.86 and 0.85) and propose an improved model for PAS prenatal prediction by combining the conventional ultrasound diagnosis with the new circRNA predictive factors (AUC: 0.91, specificity: 0.89, sensitivity: 0.82).Altogether, this work provides new resources for deciphering the biological roles of circRNAs in PAS, identified two circRNAs that could regulate trophoblast cells invasion during placentation, and revealed two noninvasive diagnostic markers for PAS.