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  • Author: Yinghua Liu x
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Xin Huang, Cuifang Hao, Xiaofang Shen, Xiaoyan Liu, Yinghua Shan, Yuhua Zhang and Lili Chen

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine and metabolic disorder in women. The abnormalities of endocrine and intra-ovarian paracrine interactions may change the microenvironment for oocyte development during the folliculogenesis process and reduce the developmental competence of oocytes in PCOS patients who are suffering from anovulatory infertility and pregnancy loss. In this microenvironment, the cross talk between an oocyte and the surrounding cumulus cells (CCs) is critical for achieving oocyte competence. The aim of our study was to investigate the gene expression profiles of CCs obtained from PCOS patients undergoing IVF cycles in terms of oocyte maturation by using human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 microarrays. A total of 59 genes were differentially expressed in two CC groups. Most of these genes were identified to be involved in one or more of the following pathways: receptor interactions, calcium signaling, metabolism and biosynthesis, focal adhesion, melanogenesis, leukocyte transendothelial migration, Wnt signaling, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. According to the different expression levels in the microarrays and their putative functions, six differentially expressed genes (LHCGR, ANGPTL1, TNIK, GRIN2A, SFRP4, and SOCS3) were selected and analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). The qRT-PCR results were consistent with the microarray data. Moreover, the molecular signatures (LHCGR, TNIK, and SOCS3) were associated with developmental potential from embryo to blastocyst stage and were proposed as biomarkers of embryo viability in PCOS patients. Our results may be clinically important as they offer a new potential strategy for competent oocyte/embryo selection in PCOS patients.

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Tiantian Liu, Pengfei Zhang, Tianjiao Li, Xiaoxu Chen, Zhenshuo Zhu, Yinghua Lyu, Xueliang Li, Xiue Tian and Wenxian Zeng

Histone methyltransferase SETDB1 suppresses gene expression and modulates heterochromatin formation through H3K9me2/3. Previous studies have revealed that SETDB1 catalyzes lysine 9 of histone H3 tri-methylation and plays essential roles in maintaining the survival of embryonic stem cells and spermatogonial stem cells in mice. However, the function of SETDB1 in porcine male germ cells remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to reveal the expression profile and function of SETDB1 in porcine germ cells. SETDB1 expression gradually increased during testis development. SETDB1 was strongly localized in gonocytes. Knockdown of SETDB1 gene expression led to gonocyte apoptosis and a decrease in H3K27me3, but no significant change in H3K9me3. These observations suggested that SETDB1 is a novel epigenetic regulator of porcine male germ cells, and contributes to the maintenance of gonocyte survival in pigs, probably due to the regulation of H3K27me3 rather than H3K9me3. These findings will provide a theoretical basis for the future study of epigenetic regulation of spermatogenesis.

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Songcun Wang, Fengrun Sun, Mutian Han, Yinghua Liu, Qinyan Zou, Fuxin Wang, Yu Tao, Dajin Li, Meirong Du, Hong Li and Rui Zhu

There is delicate crosstalk between fetus-derived trophoblasts (Tros) and maternal cells during normal pregnancy. Dysfunctions in interaction are highly linked to some pregnancy complications, such as recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA), pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Hyaluronan (HA), the most abundant component of extracellular matrix, has been reported to act as both a pro- and an anti-inflammatory molecule. Previously, we reported that HA promotes the invasion and proliferation of Tros by activating PI3K/Akt and MAPK/ERK1/2 signaling pathways. While lower HA secretion by Tros was observed during miscarriages than that during normal pregnancies, in the present study, we further confirmed that higher secretion of HA by Tros could induce M2 polarization of macrophages at the maternal–fetal interface by interacting with CD44 and activating the downstream PI3K/Akt-STAT-3/STAT-6 signaling pathways. Furthermore, HA could restore the production of IL-10 and other normal pregnancy markers by decidual macrophages (dMφs) from RSA. These findings underline the important roles of HA in regulating the function of dMφs and maintaining a normal pregnancy.