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J Cell Biochem. 2015 Dec;116(12):2924-37. doi: 10.1002/jcb.25240.

Oxygen Sensitivity of Placental Trophoblast Connexins 43 and 46: A Role in Preeclampsia?

Author information

1
Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.
2
Institute of Physiology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.
3
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.
4
Department of Pediatrics I, Neonatology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.
5
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
6
Institute of Cell Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.
7
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Klinikum Duisburg, Duisburg, Germany.

Abstract

Several gap junction connexins have been shown to be essential for appropriate placental development and function. It is known that the expression and distribution of connexins change in response to environmental oxygen levels. The placenta develops under various oxygen levels, beginning at a low oxygen tension of approximately 2% and increasing to a tension of 8% after the onset of the uteroplacental circulation. Moreover, it has been shown that during preeclampsia (PE) placentas are subjected to chronic hypoxia. Therefore, we investigated oxygen sensitivity of placental connexins 43 and 46. Using the trophoblast cell line Jar, we demonstrated that the expression of connexin43 increased during acute hypoxia but decreased during chronic hypoxia. Chronic hypoxia resulted in the translocation of connexin43 from the membrane to the cytoplasm and in a reduction in its communication properties. In contrast, the expression of connexin46 was down-regulated during chronic hypoxia and was translocated from perinuclear areas to the cell membrane. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) knockdown showed that the translocation of connexin43 but not that of connexin46 was HIF-2α dependent and was mediated by phosphoinositide 3-kinase. The up-regulation of connexin43 in combination with the down-regulation of connexin46 was confirmed in placental explants cultivated under low oxygen and in placentas with early-onset PE. Taken together, in Jar cells, placental connexins 43 and 46 are regulated during periods of low oxygen in opposite manners. The oxygen sensing of connexins in the trophoblast may play a role in physiological and pathophysiological oxygen conditions and thus may contribute to PE.

KEYWORDS:

CONNEXIN43; CONNEXIN46; HIF; PREECLAMPSIA; TROPHOBLAST

PMID:
26018820
DOI:
10.1002/jcb.25240
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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