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Placenta. 2011 Aug;32(8):592-7. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Differential effects of urinary and recombinant chorionic gonadotropin on oxidative stress responses in decidualizing human endometrial stromal cells.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Saitama Medical University, Iruma-gun, Saitama, Japan. kajihara@saitama-med.ac.jp


Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is one of the earliest signals secreted by the implanting embryo. In addition to its well-known luteotropic function in early pregnancy, hCG also acts directly on decidualizing endometrium. Recently, we demonstrated that recombinant hCG (rhCG) prevented apoptosis in decidualizing human endometrial stromal cells (HESCs) exposed to oxidative stress. Two hCG preparations are widely used clinically: rhCG, produced by recombinant DNA technology, and urinay hCG (uhCG), extracted from urine of post-menopausal women. However, an analysis of the direct effects of rhCG and uhCG on the decidual phenotype of HESCs has not yet been done. In this study, we investigated the effects of uhCG and rhCG on the morphological and functional profiles of decidualizing HESCs. We demonstrate that neither rhCG nor uhCG alter the morphological appearance of the decidual HESC cultures, although rhCG but not uhCG attenuated prolactin expression, a major decidual marker protein. Moreover, rhCG, but not uhCG, protected decidualizing HESCs from oxidative cell death, mediated at least in part by two major mechanisms. First, rhCG, but not uhCG, enhances the expression of manganese superoxide dismutase, a cardinal enzyme in the cellular defense against oxidative damage. Second, rhCG signaling selectively limits activation of the apoptotic machinery in decidualizing HESCs by enhancing Bcl-2 expression whereas uhCG induces the expression of Fas ligand. Our results suggest that rhCG might be a preferable agent to protect the maternal decidua against oxidative damage in pregnancy, especially at the time of implantation and beyond.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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