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J Histochem Cytochem. 2010 Aug;58(8):751-7. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2010.956185. Epub 2010 May 10.

Immunohistochemical labeling of the inhibin/activin betaC subunit in normal human placental tissue and chorionic carcinoma cell lines.

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First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany.


Inhibins and activins are important regulators of the female reproductive system. A novel inhibin subunit, named betaC, has been identified and demonstrated to be expressed in several human tissues. We demonstrate here that inhibin betaC is expressed in human placenta. Expression of the inhibin betaC subunit was demonstrated at the protein level by means of immunohistochemical evaluation and at the transcriptional level by an inhibin betaC-specific RT-PCR analysis. Expression of inhibin betaC was detected in the human chorionic carcinoma cell lines JEG and BeWo. Although the precise role of this novel inhibin subunit in human placenta development and homeostasis is unclear, analogies with other inhibin subunits and the strong expression of betaC in normal human trophoblast cells and chorionic carcinoma cells suggest that betaC may be involved in autocrine/paracrine signaling pathways, angiogenesis, decidualization, and tissue remodeling under normal and malignant conditions. Additionally, JEG and BeWo express betaC and, therefore, can be used as a cell culture model for further functional analysis of this subunit in the human placenta.

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