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Biol Reprod. 1994 Apr;50(4):882-7.

Expression of leukemia inhibitory factor in human endometrium and placenta.

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  • 1Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine Kyoto University, Japan.


Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), a cytokine that induces macrophage differentiation in the murine M1 myeloid leukemia cell line, is essential for blastocyst implantation in mice. However, its expression and the role it plays in the human uterus are unknown. To clarify these issues, we examined LIF gene expression in the human uterus by Northern blot hybridization and by a quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Analysis of LIF mRNA showed two hybridization bands, with estimated mRNA sizes of about 4.0-kb pairs and 1.8-kb pairs. LIF mRNA was detected at high levels in endometrial tissue and decidua, but at low levels in the chorionic villus in first trimester and term placenta. In the secretory phase, the endometrial tissue showed higher LIF expression than in the proliferative phase (9.5-fold; p < 0.01). The endometrial tissues were separated into a stroma-enriched fraction (SF) and an epithelium-enriched fraction (EF), and the LIF mRNA levels in each fraction were examined by quantitative RT-PCR. These levels were higher in the EF than in the SF (3.3-fold; p < 0.05). These findings suggest that, in humans, LIF plays a role in uterine function during the menstrual cycle, as well as during pregnancy.

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