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FASEB J. 2006 Dec;20(14):2630-2. Epub 2006 Oct 25.

Angiogenic activity of human chorionic gonadotropin through LH receptor activation on endothelial and epithelial cells of the endometrium.

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  • 1Laboratory of Tumor and Development Biology, Centre de recherche en cancérologie expérimentale, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium.


Successful embryo development requires an extensive endometrial angiogenesis in proximity of implantation site. The glycoprotein hCG is produced even before implantation by trophoblast in normal pregnancy. In this manuscript, we demonstrate an angiogenic effect of hCG in several in vivo (chick chorioallantoïc membrane, matrigel plug assay, aortic ring assay) and in vitro experimental models. In contrast, human placental lactogen (hPL) did not display angiogenic properties. LH/hCG receptor was detected in endothelial cells by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by Western blotting. In mice aortic ring assay, angiostimulation by hCG was abrogated by deletion of LH/hCG receptor (LuRKO mice). Use of recombinant hCG and anti-hCG antibody (Ab) further confirmed the specificity of this angiogenic activity. By using dibutyryl cAMP, adenylate cyclase, or protein kinase A inhibitors, we demonstrate that hCG-mediated angiogenesis involves adenylyl-cyclase-protein kinase A activation. Addition of hCG to endometrial epithelial epithelial cells, but not to cultured endothelial cells, stimulated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF and hCG also displayed additive activities. Altogether, these data demonstrate that peritrophoblastic angiostimulation may result from a paracrine dialogue between trophoblast, epithelial, and endothelial cells through hCG and VEGF.

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