Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Pathol. 2002 Jul;161(1):105-14.

The ontogeny of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) 1alpha-hydroxylase expression in human placenta and decidua.

Author information

Division of Medical Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK.


In addition to its classical calciotropic effects, the active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)) is a potent anti-proliferative/immunomodulatory secosteroid. The enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), 1alpha-hydroxylase (1alpha-OHase), is expressed in many human tissues, highlighting its possible role as an autocrine/paracrine activator of vitamin D. Immunohistochemical and RNA analyses were used to characterize the ontogeny of 1alpha-OHase expression in human placenta and decidua. Protein for 1alpha-OHase was detectable in trophoblast and decidua; the latter being stronger in decidualized stromal cells than macrophages, with no staining of lymphocytes. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction was used to assess changes in mRNA expression for 1alpha-OHase at different gestations: first (mean, 9.1 +/- 1.5 weeks); second (mean, 14 +/- 1.8 weeks), and third trimester (mean, 39.3 +/- 2.5 weeks). 1alpha-OHase expression in decidua was approximately 1000-fold higher in first (95% confidence limits, 611 to 1376) and second (95% confidence limits, 633 to 1623) trimester biopsies when compared with the third trimester (95% confidence limits, 0.36 to 2.81) (both P < 0.001). In placenta, 1alpha-OHase expression was 80-fold higher in the first (range, 42 to 137) and second (range, 30 to 199) trimester when compared with third trimester biopsies (0.6 to 1.6) (both P < 0.001). Similar results were obtained by semiquantitative IHC. Parallel analysis of the receptor for 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) (vitamin D receptor) indicated that, as with 1alpha-OHase, highest levels of expression occurred in first trimester decidua. However, changes in vitamin D receptor mRNA expression across gestation were less pronounced than 1alpha-OHase. These spatiotemporal data emphasize the potential importance of 1alpha-OHase during early fetoplacental life and, in particular, suggest an autocrine/paracrine immunomodulatory function for the enzyme.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center