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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 May;86(5):2060-4.

Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II inhibition of endometrial stromal cell tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 and IGF-binding protein-1 suggests paracrine interactions at the decidua:trophoblast interface during human implantation.

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Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Center for Research on Women's Health and Reproductive Medicine, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305-5317, USA.


In human pregnancy, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II messenger RNA (mRNA) is expressed at the maternal-fetal interface exclusively by the placental trophoblast. Highest levels are expressed by the invading extravillous trophoblasts, which also secrete matrix metalloproteinases as they degrade the decidual extracellular matrix. In contrast, the maternal decidua expresses high levels of IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-1 and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMPs), both of which inhibit trophoblast invasiveness in vitro. The present study investigated the hypothesis that IGF-II may serve as a paracrine modulator of maternal restraints on invasion, by examining its effects on TIMP-3 and IGFBP-1 expression by decidualized endometrial stromal cells. Human endometrial stromal cells were decidualized in vitro with progesterone (P), after which 0-130 nM IGF-II and IGF analogs were added. IGFBP-1 in conditioned medium was assayed by immunoradiometric assay. In addition, Northern analyses were conducted using a PCR-generated 421-bp complementary DNA (cDNA) fragment corresponding to nucleotides 132-553 of the human TIMP-3 cDNA, and a 934-bp EcoRI fragment of the human IGFBP-1 cDNA. TIMP-3 mRNA transcripts of 2.2, 2.5, and 4.4 kilobases were detected in decidualized stromal cells not treated with IGF-II, but not detected in nondecidualized stromal cells, consistent with its known induction upon decidualization and in response to P. In decidualized stromal cells, IGF-II and Des(1-6) IGF-II, an analog with reduced affinity for IGFBPs, caused a dose-dependent inhibition of TIMP-3 mRNA expression. Long R(3) IGF-I, an IGF analog with minimal affinity for IGFBPs, also significantly inhibited (79 +/- 0.3%) TIMP-3 mRNA expression in these cells at 6 nM. Decidualized stromal cells secreted IGFBP-1 and expressed a 1.5-kilobase IGFBP-1 transcript, which was not detected in nondecidualized cells, consistent with its known induction upon decidualization and in response to P. IGF-II caused a dose-dependent inhibition of IGFBP-1 mRNA expression and protein secretion in decidualized stromal cells when added in molar excess of endogenous IGFBP-1 levels, with virtually complete inhibition at higher concentrations of IGF-II (65 and 130 nM). By comparison, Long R(3) IGF-I inhibited IGFBP-1 expression with a 50% effective dose of 0.2-0.4 nM. These data suggest that the invading trophoblast has the capacity, via IGF-II, to inhibit maternal restraints on trophoblast invasiveness by regulating decidual TIMP-3 and IGFBP-1.

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