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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Jun;87(6):2629-34.

Phospholipase A(2) and cyclooxygenase gene expression in human preimplantation embryos.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Polan Laboratory, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Room HH333, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) and cyclooxygenase (COX) are two key enzymes in PG synthesis; the latter has two forms, COX-1 and COX-2. mRNA was extracted from single preimplantation embryos and examined for PLA(2), COX-1, and COX-2 gene expression by RT-PCR to investigate whether PLA(2) and COX genes are expressed in human preimplantation conceptuses from zygote to blastocyst stage and to compare COX-1 and COX-2 gene expression within the same stage of embryonic development. Expression of PLA(2), COX-1, and COX-2 was detected in 48, 37, and 45%, respectively, of total embryos examined. COX-1 was expressed in approximately 66% of early human preimplantation embryos from zygote to two-cell stage, whereas COX-2 was expressed in about 58% of later stage embryos from eight-cell to blastocyst stage (P < 0.05). Furthermore, COX-2 mRNA and protein were localized to trophectoderm in blastocyst stage embryos. In conclusion, PLA(2), COX-1, and COX-2 are expressed during early human embryonic development and may contribute to the production of PGs such as PGE(2) in human embryogenesis. COX-1 and COX-2 are differentially expressed, with COX-2 being primarily expressed by trophectoderm in late-stage human preimplantation embryos, which may promote embryonic differentiation and implantation.

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