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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Feb;81(2):801-6.

The effect of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) on trophoblast differentiation: a potential role in human implantation.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is a multifunctional glycoprotein strongly associated with normal implantation in the mouse. We have recently determined that LIF is expressed in the human endometrium in a menstrual cycle dependent manner. Maximal expression is observed between days 19 and 25 of the menstrual cycle, coinciding with the time of human implantation. In this study we have utilized purified cultures of human cytotrophoblasts to examine the effects of LIF on several morphologic and biochemical markers of the trophoblastic differentiation. We purified human cytotrophoblasts from term placentae and cultured them with and without LIF (10 ng/mL). The secretion of human CG, oncofetal fibronectin, and progesterone were measured at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h. Northern blot analysis was used to assess messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of beta hCG and oncofetal fibronectin. We found that LIF markedly decreased trophoblast production of hCG protein at 72 and 96 h, as well as expression of beta hCG mRNA. LIF also significantly increased the expression of oncofetal fibronectin mRNA and secretion of the protein. LIF did not affect steroidogenic activity of cultured trophoblasts, as determined by progesterone production. These biochemical changes are characteristic of cytotrophoblast differentiation toward an anchoring extravillous phenotype. Thus, LIF appears to be an important regulator of human embryonic implantation by directly modulating trophoblast differentiation.

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