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J Soc Gynecol Investig. 2006 Oct;13(7):491-6. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Lack of site-specific production of decidual alpha-2 macroglobulin in human pregnancy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong. <>



Alpha-2 Macroglobulin (A2M) is a protease inhibitor that is present in both human and rat decidual tissue. In mice, decidual A2M prevents excessive trophoblastic invasion; however, its role in human decidual tissue is unknown. It is possible that A2M may also influence trophoblast invasion in human pregnancy, which would be reflected in increased A2M production in decidua basalis. The aim of the current study was to determine and compare A2M production from first trimester human decidua basalis and decidua parietalis.


Human decidual tissues were obtained from patients undergoing surgical termination at 9 to 12 gestational weeks. Strips of decidua basalis and decidua parietalis were obtained by uterine curettage under real-time ultrasound guidance. Tissue samples were fixed in 10% formalin or snap-frozen for immunohistochemistry and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis, respectively. Protein and mRNA production between the two sites were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test.


Paired basal and parietal decidua were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (n = 9) and by RT-PCR (n = 10). There was no significant difference in A2M mRNA expression between decidua basalis and decidua parietalis (P = .5). Immunohistochemical staining intensity for A2M protein was significantly higher in basalis than in parietalis (P = .004), but the extent of positively stained cells were not significantly different (P = .051). Strong A2M staining in decidua basalis was mainly localized in the intracellular storage vesicles, which may suggest a role of A2M in this site.


We conclude that the expression pattern of A2M in human decidua basalis and decidua parietalis is not consistent with an important role of this gene during the observed gestational period. Contrary to its role in rodent implantation, A2M is probably not involved in regulating human implantation and trophoblastic invasion during this gestational window frame.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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