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Endocrinology. 2012 Oct;153(10):4918-28. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

Regulation of estradiol and progesterone production by CRH-R1 and -R2 is through divergent signaling pathways in cultured human placental trophoblasts.

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Department of Physiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.


CRH and its related peptides urocortins (UCN) have been identified in placenta and implicated to play pivotal roles in the regulation of pregnancy and parturition in humans. The objectives of present study were to investigate the effects of endogenous CRH and its related peptides in the regulation of steroid production in placenta. Placental trophoblasts were isolated from term placenta tissues and cultured for 72 h. Estradiol (E(2)) and progesterone (P(4)) contents in culture media were determined by radioimmunoassay. Treatment of cultured trophoblasts with CRH or UCNI antibody showed decreased E(2), whereas increased P(4) production. Treatment of cells with CRH receptor type 1 antagonist antalarmin or CRH receptor type 2 (CRH-R2) antagonist astressin-2b also decreased E(2) but increased P(4) production. Knockdown of CRH receptor type 1 or CRH-R2 cells showed a decrease in E(2) production and an increase in P(4) production. In CRH-R2 knockdown cells, CRH stimulated GTP-bound Gαs protein and phosphorylated phospholipase C-β3. Adenylyl cyclase and protein kinase A inhibitors blocked CRH-induced increased E(2) production but not decreased P(4) production. PLC inhibitor U73122 and protein kinase C inhibitor chelerythrine blocked the effects of CRH on E(2) and P(4) production in CRH-R2 knockdown cells. UCNIII, the specific CRH-R2 agonist, stimulated GTP-bound Gαi protein and phosphorylated phospholipase C-β3 expression. Both U73122 and chelerythrine blocked UCNIII-induced increased E(2) production and decreased P(4) production. We suggest that CRH and its related peptides might be involved in changes in the progesterone to estrogen ratio during human pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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