Rose G. Radin, Sunni L. Mumford, Robert M. Silver, Laurie L. Lesher, Noya Galai, David Faraggi, Jean Wactawski-Wende, Janet M. Townsend, Anne M. Lynch, Hyagriv N. Simhan, Lindsey A. Sjaarda, Neil J. Perkins, Shvetha M. Zarek, Karen C. Schliep, Enrique F. Schisterman
The precise mechanisms that lead to parturition are incompletely defined. Surfactant protein-A (SP-A), which is secreted by fetal lungs into amniotic fluid (AF) near term, likely provides a signal for parturition; however, SP-A–deficient mice have only a relatively modest delay (~12 hours) in parturition, suggesting additional factors. Here, we evaluated the contribution of steroid receptor coactivators 1 and 2 (SRC-1 and SRC-2), which upregulate SP-A transcription, to the parturition process. As mice lacking both SRC-1 and SRC-2 die at birth due to respiratory distress, we crossed double-heterozygous males and females. Parturition was severely delayed (~38 hours) in heterozygous dams harboring SRC-1/-2–deficient embryos. These mothers exhibited decreased myometrial NF-κB activation, PGF2α, and expression of contraction-associated genes; impaired luteolysis; and elevated circulating progesterone. These manifestations also occurred in WT females bearing SRC-1/-2 double-deficient embryos, indicating that a fetal-specific defect delayed labor. SP-A, as well as the enzyme lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase-1 (LPCAT1), required for synthesis of surfactant dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, and the proinflammatory glycerophospholipid platelet-activating factor (PAF) were markedly reduced in SRC-1/-2–deficient fetal lungs near term. Injection of PAF or SP-A into AF at 17.5 days post coitum enhanced uterine NF-κB activation and contractile gene expression, promoted luteolysis, and rescued delayed parturition in SRC-1/-2–deficient embryo-bearing dams. These findings reveal that fetal lungs produce signals to initiate labor when mature and that SRC-1/-2–dependent production of SP-A and PAF is crucial for this process.
Lu Gao, Elizabeth H. Rabbitt, Jennifer C. Condon, Nora E. Renthal, John M. Johnston, Matthew A. Mitsche, Pierre Chambon, Jianming Xu, Bert W. O’Malley, Carole R. Mendelson
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) affects up to 10% of pregnancies in Western societies. IUGR is a strong predictor of reduced short-term neonatal survival and impairs long-term health in children. Placental insufficiency is often associated with IUGR; however, the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of placental insufficiency and IUGR are largely unknown. Here, we developed a mouse model of fetal-growth restriction and placental insufficiency that is induced by a midgestational stress challenge. Compared with control animals, pregnant dams subjected to gestational stress exhibited reduced progesterone levels and placental heme oxygenase 1 (
María Emilia Solano, Mirka Katharina Kowal, Greta Eugenia O’Rourke, Andrea Kristina Horst, Kathrin Modest, Torsten Plösch, Roja Barikbin, Chressen Catharina Remus, Robert G. Berger, Caitlin Jago, Hoang Ho, Gabriele Sass, Victoria J. Parker, John P. Lydon, Francesco J. DeMayo, Kurt Hecher, Khalil Karimi, Petra Clara Arck
Increased synthesis of cervical hyaluronan (HA) from early to late pregnancy has long been proposed to play an essential role in disorganization of the collagen-rich extracellular matrix to allow for maximal compliance and dilation of the cervix during the birth process. Here, we show that HA is not essential for increased cervical distensibility during late pregnancy. Rather, cervicovaginal HA plays an unanticipated important role in epithelial barrier protection of the lower reproductive tract. Specifically, HA depletion in the cervix and vagina resulted in inappropriate differentiation of epithelial cells, increased epithelial and mucosal permeability, and strikingly increased preterm birth rates in a mouse model of ascending vaginal infection. Collectively, these findings revealed that although HA is not obligatory for cervical compliance, it is crucial for maintaining an epithelial and mucosal barrier to limit pathogen infiltration of the lower reproductive tract during pregnancy and thereby is protective against infection-mediated preterm birth.
Yucel Akgul, R. Ann Word, Laura M. Ensign, Yu Yamaguchi, John Lydon, Justin Hanes, Mala Mahendroo
Reduced trophoblast invasion and vascular conversion in decidua are thought to be the primary defect of common pregnancy disorders including preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Genetic studies suggest these conditions are linked to combinations of polymorphic killer cell Ig-like receptor (
Shiqiu Xiong, Andrew M. Sharkey, Philippa R. Kennedy, Lucy Gardner, Lydia E. Farrell, Olympe Chazara, Julien Bauer, Susan E. Hiby, Francesco Colucci, Ashley Moffett
There are currently more than 15 million preterm births each year. We propose that gene-environment interaction is a major contributor to preterm birth. To address this experimentally, we generated a mouse model with uterine deletion of
Jeeyeon Cha, Amanda Bartos, Mahiro Egashira, Hirofumi Haraguchi, Tomoko Saito-Fujita, Emma Leishman, Heather Bradshaw, Sudhansu K. Dey, Yasushi Hirota
Macrophages are prominent in the uterus and ovary at conception. Here we utilize the
Alison S. Care, Kerrilyn R. Diener, Melinda J. Jasper, Hannah M. Brown, Wendy V. Ingman, Sarah A. Robertson
Abnormalities in cell-cell communication and growth factor signaling pathways can lead to defects in maternal-fetal interactions during pregnancy, including immunologic rejection of the fetal/placental unit. In this study, we discovered that bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) is essential for postimplantation physiology and fertility. Despite normal implantation and early placental/fetal development, deletion of
Takashi Nagashima, Qinglei Li, Caterina Clementi, John P. Lydon, Francesco J. DeMayo, Martin M. Matzuk
The remodeling of maternal uterine spiral arteries (SAs) is an essential process for ensuring low-resistance, high-capacitance blood flow to the growing fetus. Failure of SAs to remodel is causally associated with preeclampsia, a common and life-threatening complication of pregnancy that is harmful to both mother and fetus. Here, using both loss-of-function and gain-of-function genetic mouse models, we show that expression of the pregnancy-related peptide adrenomedullin (AM) by fetal trophoblast cells is necessary and sufficient to promote appropriate recruitment and activation of maternal uterine NK (uNK) cells to the placenta and ultimately facilitate remodeling of maternal SAs. Placentas that lacked either AM or its receptor exhibited reduced fetal vessel branching in the labyrinth, failed SA remodeling and reendothelialization, and markedly reduced numbers of maternal uNK cells. In contrast, overexpression of AM caused a reversal of these phenotypes with a concomitant increase in uNK cell content in vivo. Moreover, AM dose-dependently stimulated the secretion of numerous chemokines, cytokines, and MMPs from uNK cells, which in turn induced VSMC apoptosis. These data identify an essential function for fetal-derived factors in the maternal vascular adaptation to pregnancy and underscore the importance of exploring AM as a biomarker and therapeutic agent for preeclampsia.
Manyu Li, Nicole M.J. Schwerbrock, Patricia M. Lenhart, Kimberly L. Fritz-Six, Mahita Kadmiel, Kathleen S. Christine, Daniel M. Kraus, Scott T. Espenschied, Helen H. Willcockson, Christopher P. Mack, Kathleen M. Caron
Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) capable of self-renewal and differentiation are the foundation for spermatogenesis. Although several factors important for these processes have been identified, the fundamental mechanisms regulating SSC self-renewal and differentiation remain unknown. Here, we investigated a role for the Foxo transcription factors in mouse spermatogenesis and found that Foxo1 specifically marks mouse gonocytes and a subset of spermatogonia with stem cell potential. Genetic analyses showed that Foxo1 was required for both SSC homeostasis and the initiation of spermatogenesis. Combined deficiency of Foxo1, Foxo3, and Foxo4 resulted in a severe impairment of SSC self-renewal and a complete block of differentiation, indicating that Foxo3 and Foxo4, although dispensable for male fertility, contribute to SSC function. By conditional inactivation of 3-phosphoinositide–dependent protein kinase 1 (Pdk1) and phosphatase and tensin homolog (Pten) in the male germ line, we found that PI3K signaling regulates Foxo1 stability and subcellular localization, revealing that the Foxos are pivotal effectors of PI3K-Akt signaling in SSCs. We also identified a network of Foxo gene targets — most notably Ret — that rationalized the maintenance of SSCs by the Foxos. These studies demonstrate that Foxo1 expression in the spermatogenic lineage is intimately associated with the stem cell state and revealed what we believe to be novel Foxo-dependent mechanisms underlying SSC self-renewal and differentiation, with implications for common diseases, including male infertility and testicular cancer, due to abnormalities in SSC function.
Meredith J. Goertz, Zhuoru Wu, Teresa D. Gallardo, F. Kent Hamra, Diego H. Castrillon