Hooman Mirzakhani, Augusto A. Litonjua, Thomas F. McElrath, George O’Connor, Aviva Lee-Parritz, Ronald Iverson, George Macones, Robert C. Strunk, Leonard B. Bacharier, Robert Zeiger, Bruce W. Hollis, Diane E. Handy, Amitabh Sharma, Nancy Laranjo, Vincent Carey, Weilliang Qiu, Marc Santolini, Shikang Liu, Divya Chhabra, Daniel A. Enquobahrie, Michelle A. Williams, Joseph Loscalzo, Scott T. Weiss
Eleftheria Lefkou, Apostolos Mamopoulos, Themistoklis Dagklis, Christos Vosnakis, David Rousso, Guillermina Girardi
Inflammation and oxidative stress are known risk factors for preterm birth (PTB); however, the mechanisms and pathways that influence this condition are not fully described. Previously, we showed that mTORC1 signaling is increased in mice harboring a uterine-specific deletion of transformation-related protein 53 (
Wenbo Deng, Jeeyeon Cha, Jia Yuan, Hirofumi Haraguchi, Amanda Bartos, Emma Leishman, Benoit Viollet, Heather B. Bradshaw, Yasushi Hirota, Sudhansu K. Dey
Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy in which patients develop profound sensitivity to vasopressors, such as angiotensin II, and is associated with substantial morbidity for the mother and fetus. Enhanced vasoconstrictor sensitivity and elevations in soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFLT1), a circulating antiangiogenic protein, precede clinical signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. Here, we report that overexpression of
Suzanne D. Burke, Zsuzsanna K. Zsengellér, Eliyahu V. Khankin, Agnes S. Lo, Augustine Rajakumar, Jennifer J. DuPont, Amy McCurley, Mary E. Moss, Dongsheng Zhang, Christopher D. Clark, Alice Wang, Ellen W. Seely, Peter M. Kang, Isaac E. Stillman, Iris Z. Jaffe, S. Ananth Karumanchi
Maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy remains one of the most common and preventable causes of fetal growth restriction (FGR), a condition in which a fetus is unable to achieve its genetically determined potential size. Even though epidemiologic evidence clearly links maternal cigarette smoking with FGR, insight into the molecular mechanisms of cigarette smoke–induced FGR is lacking. Here, we performed transcriptional profiling of placentas obtained from smoking mothers who delivered growth-restricted infants and identified secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP1), an extracellular antagonist of endogenous WNT signaling, as a candidate molecule. sFRP1 mRNA and protein levels were markedly upregulated (~10 fold) in placentas from smoking mothers compared with those from nonsmokers. In pregnant mice, adenovirus-mediated overexpression of sFRP1 led to FGR, increased karyorrhexis in the junctional zone, and decreased proliferation of labyrinthine trophoblasts. Consistent with our hypothesis that placental WNT signaling is suppressed in maternal smokers, we found that exposure to carbon monoxide analogs led to reduced WNT signaling, increased
Alice Wang, Zsuzsanna K. Zsengellér, Jonathan L. Hecht, Roberto Buccafusca, Suzanne D. Burke, Augustine Rajakumar, Emily Weingart, Paul B. Yu, Saira Salahuddin, S. Ananth Karumanchi
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
There is strong evidence that overproduction of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFLT1) in the placenta is a major cause of vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia through sFLT1-dependent antagonism of VEGF. However, the cause of placental sFLT1 upregulation is not known. Here we demonstrated that in women with preeclampsia, sFLT1 is upregulated in placental trophoblasts, while VEGF is upregulated in adjacent maternal decidual cells. In response to VEGF, expression of
Xiujun Fan, Anshita Rai, Neeraja Kambham, Joyce F. Sung, Nirbhai Singh, Matthew Petitt, Sabita Dhal, Rani Agrawal, Richard E. Sutton, Maurice L. Druzin, Sanjiv S. Gambhir, Balamurali K. Ambati, James C. Cross, Nihar R. Nayak
Spermatogenesis is a complex, multistep process that maintains male fertility and is sustained by rare germline stem cells. Spermatogenic progression begins with spermatogonia, populations of which express distinct markers. The identity of the spermatogonial stem cell population in the undisturbed testis is controversial due to a lack of reliable and specific markers. Here we identified the transcription factor PAX7 as a specific marker of a rare subpopulation of Asingle spermatogonia in mice. PAX7+ cells were present in the testis at birth. Compared with the adult testis, PAX7+ cells constituted a much higher percentage of neonatal germ cells. Lineage tracing in healthy adult mice revealed that PAX7+ spermatogonia self-maintained and produced expanding clones that gave rise to mature spermatozoa. Interestingly, in mice subjected to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, both of which damage the vast majority of germ cells and can result in sterility, PAX7+ spermatogonia selectively survived, and their subsequent expansion contributed to the recovery of spermatogenesis. Finally, PAX7+ spermatogonia were present in the testes of a diverse set of mammals. Our data indicate that the PAX7+ subset of Asingle spermatogonia functions as robust testis stem cells that maintain fertility in normal spermatogenesis in healthy mice and mediate recovery after severe germline injury, such as occurs after cancer therapy.
Gina M. Aloisio, Yuji Nakada, Hatice D. Saatcioglu, Christopher G. Peña, Michael D. Baker, Edward D. Tarnawa, Jishnu Mukherjee, Hema Manjunath, Abhijit Bugde, Anita L. Sengupta, James F. Amatruda, Ileana Cuevas, F. Kent Hamra, Diego H. Castrillon
Channa N. Jayasena, Ali Abbara, Alexander N. Comninos, Gurjinder M.K. Nijher, Georgios Christopoulos, Shakunthala Narayanaswamy, Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya, Mathini Sridharan, Alexina J. Mason, Jane Warwick, Deborah Ashby, Mohammad A. Ghatei, Stephen R. Bloom, Anna Carby, Geoffrey H. Trew, Waljit S. Dhillo
The transition to puberty and adult fertility both require a minimum level of energy availability. The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin signals the long-term status of peripheral energy stores and serves as a key metabolic messenger to the neuroendocrine reproductive axis. Humans and mice lacking leptin or its receptor fail to complete puberty and are infertile. Restoration of leptin levels in these individuals promotes sexual maturation, which requires the pulsatile, coordinated delivery of gonadotropin-releasing hormone to the pituitary and the resulting surge of luteinizing hormone (LH); however, the neural circuits that control the leptin-mediated induction of the reproductive axis are not fully understood. Here, we found that leptin coordinated fertility by acting on neurons in the preoptic region of the hypothalamus and inducing the synthesis of the freely diffusible volume-based transmitter NO, through the activation of neuronal NO synthase (nNOS) in these neurons. The deletion of the gene encoding nNOS or its pharmacological inhibition in the preoptic region blunted the stimulatory action of exogenous leptin on LH secretion and prevented the restoration of fertility in leptin-deficient female mice by leptin treatment. Together, these data indicate that leptin plays a central role in regulating the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in vivo through the activation of nNOS in neurons of the preoptic region.
Nicole Bellefontaine, Konstantina Chachlaki, Jyoti Parkash, Charlotte Vanacker, William Colledge, Xavier d’Anglemont de Tassigny, John Garthwaite, Sebastien G. Bouret, Vincent Prevot
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
During human pregnancy, a subset of placental cytotrophoblasts (CTBs) differentiates into cells that aggressively invade the uterus and its vasculature, anchoring the progeny and rerouting maternal blood to the placenta. In preeclampsia (PE), CTB invasion is limited, reducing placental perfusion and/or creating intermittent flow. This syndrome, affecting 4%–8% of pregnancies, entails maternal vascular alterations (e.g., high blood pressure, proteinuria, and edema) and, in some patients, fetal growth restriction. The only cure is removal of the faulty placenta, i.e., delivery. Previously, we showed that defective CTB differentiation contributes to the placental component of PE, but the causes were unknown. Here, we cultured CTBs isolated from PE and control placentas for 48 hours, enabling differentiation and invasion. In various severe forms of PE, transcriptomics revealed common aberrations in CTB gene expression immediately after isolation, including upregulation of
Yan Zhou, Matthew J. Gormley, Nathan M. Hunkapiller, Mirhan Kapidzic, Yana Stolyarov, Victoria Feng, Masakazu Nishida, Penelope M. Drake, Katherine Bianco, Fei Wang, Michael T. McMaster, Susan J. Fisher
The intrauterine environment is a major contributor to increased rates of metabolic disease in adults. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a liver disease of pregnancy that affects 0.5%–2% of pregnant women and is characterized by increased bile acid levels in the maternal serum. The influence of ICP on the metabolic health of offspring is unknown. We analyzed the Northern Finland birth cohort 1985–1986 database and found that 16-year-old children of mothers with ICP had altered lipid profiles. Males had increased BMI, and females exhibited increased waist and hip girth compared with the offspring of uncomplicated pregnancies. We further investigated the effect of maternal cholestasis on the metabolism of adult offspring in the mouse. Females from cholestatic mothers developed a severe obese, diabetic phenotype with hepatosteatosis following a Western diet, whereas matched mice not exposed to cholestasis in utero did not. Female littermates were susceptible to metabolic disease before dietary challenge. Human and mouse studies showed an accumulation of lipids in the fetoplacental unit and increased transplacental cholesterol transport in cholestatic pregnancy. We believe this is the first report showing that cholestatic pregnancy in the absence of altered maternal BMI or diabetes can program metabolic disease in the offspring.
Georgia Papacleovoulou, Shadi Abu-Hayyeh, Evanthia Nikolopoulou, Oscar Briz, Bryn M. Owen, Vanya Nikolova, Caroline Ovadia, Xiao Huang, Marja Vaarasmaki, Marc Baumann, Eugene Jansen, Christiane Albrecht, Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin, Jose J.G. Marin, A.S. Knisely, Catherine Williamson
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