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Xenografted tissue models for the study of human endometrial biology

Kuokkanen, Satu; Zhu, Liyin; Pollard, Jeffrey W
The human endometrium undergoes extensive morphological, biochemical and molecular changes under the influence of female sex steroid hormones. Besides the fact that estrogen stimulates endometrial cell proliferation and progesterone inhibits this proliferation and induces differentiation, there is limited knowledge about precise molecular mechanisms underlying human endometrial biology. The importance of paracrine signaling in endometrial physiology explains why in vitro culture of endometrial cells has been challenging. Researchers, therefore, have developed alternative experimental in vivo models for the study of endometrial biology. The objective of this review is to summarize the recent developments and work on these in vivo endometrial research models. The in vivo recombinant tissue models in which wild-type endometrial cells are combined with endometrial cells from a gene-targeted mouse strain followed by xenografting to host mice have been critical in confirming the significance of paracrine signaling between the epithelium and stroma in the growth regulation of the endometrium. Additionally, these studies have uncovered differences between the mouse and human, emphasizing the need for the development of experimental models specifically of the human endometrium. Recently, xenotransplants of human endometrial fragments into the subcutaneous space of host mice and endometrial xenografts of dissociated and recombined epithelial and stromal cells beneath the kidney capsule of immunodeficient host mice have proven to be highly promising tools for in vivo research of endometrial functions. For the first time, the latter approach provides an immense opportunity for the application of genome engineering, such as targeted ablation of endometrial genes for example by using CRISPR/CAS9 system. This research will begin to elucidate the functional role of specific genes in this complex tissue. Another advantage of xenotransplantation and xenograft models of the human endometrium is their use to investigate endometrial effects of new compounds and drugs without needing to give them to women. Underpinning the molecular mechanisms underlying endometrial functions is critical to ultimately advance our understanding of endometrial pathophysiology and develop targeted therapies to prevent and cure endometrial pathologies as well as enhance endometrial function when it is desired for fertility.
PMID: 29156254
ISSN: 1432-0436
CID: 3646212

Thin endometrium after radiation therapy as an unresolved treatment challenge: a case report [Case Report]

Kudesia, Rashmi; Kuokkanen, Satu
Receptive endometrium is essential for successful implantation and ongoing pregnancy. Significant health issues and associated therapies, especially oncologic therapies, have potential to negatively impact future fertility in young women. Irradiation and chemotherapeutic alkylating agents are known to cause ovarian failure in most females; however, less well is characterized the impact of irradiation on uterine development and integrity. With an increasing number of cancer survivors, women are seeking infertility treatment after such therapies. Here, we present a young woman who developed ovarian failure after the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia with bone marrow transplant and preceding irradiation and chemotherapy and who was diagnosed with thin endometrial lining while seeking infertility therapy.
PMID: 27129096
ISSN: 1473-0766
CID: 3646192

Corpus luteum as a novel target of weight changes that contribute to impaired female reproductive physiology and function

Kuokkanen, Satu; Polotsky, Alex J; Chosich, Justin; Bradford, Andrew P; Jasinska, Anna; Phang, Tzu; Santoro, Nanette; Appt, Susan E
UNLABELLED:Obesity and malnutrition are associated with decreased fecundity in women. Impaired reproductive capacity in obese women is often attributed to anovulation. However, obese women with ovulatory cycles also have reduced fertility, but the etiology of their impaired reproduction is only partially understood. Accumulating evidence suggests that obesity directly impairs oocyte and embryo quality as well as endometrial receptivity. In obese women, urinary progesterone metabolite excretion is decreased, but in excess of what can be explained by suppressed gonadotropin secretion, suggesting that apart from its central effect obesity may directly affect progesterone (P4) production. These observations have led to the novel hypothesis that obesity directly affects corpus luteum (CL) function. Similarly, we hypothesize that weight loss may contribute to luteal dysfunction. Here, we propose a non-human primate model, the vervet monkey, to examine the effect of weight gain and loss on menstrual cycle parameters and CL gene expression. In this model, weight gain and loss did not significantly alter menstrual cyclicity; however, both induced alterations in the CL transcriptome. In the weight gain monkey, we observed that impaired mid-luteal P4 secretion was associated with downregulation of steroidogenic pathways in CL. Collectively, these preliminary findings support our hypothesis that weight gain and loss may contribute to CL dysfunction. The vervet model described and preliminary observations provide a basis for a larger study to address this important question. Understanding the mechanisms by which weight gain and loss contribute to reproductive dysfunction can assist in the development of targeted treatments to enhance women's reproductive capability when it is desired. ABBREVIATIONS/BACKGROUND:CL: corpus luteum; P4: progesterone; E2: estradiol; PDG: pregnanediol 3-glucoronide; LH: luteinizing hormone; FSH: follicle-stimulating hormone; GnRH: gonadotropin releasing hormone; BMI: body mass index; qrtPCR: quantitative real-time PCR; PGR: progesterone receptor; ART: assisted reproductive technology; IVF: in vitro fertilization; HPO: hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis; MMPs: matrix metalloproteinases Gene symbols: LH receptor (LHGCR); cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (CYP11A1); 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II (HSD3B2); steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR); LDL receptor (LDLR); scavenger receptor B1 (SCARB1); ATP-binding cassette sub-family A member 1 (ABCA1); ATP-binding cassette sub-family G member 1 (ABCG1); apolipoprotein A (APOA1); 24 dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR24); 3-hydroxy-3-methylglytaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR); vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA); vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC); vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1); and TIMP metallopeptidase inhibitor 1 (TIMP1); amphiregulin (AREG); epiregulin (EREG); CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha (CEBPBA); cAMP responsive element binding protein 3-like 1 (CREB3L1); ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospodin type 1 motif 1 (ADAMTS1); matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP9); cytochrome b-245 beta polypeptide (CYBB or NOX2); NADH oxidase (NCF2 or NOXA2); Fc fragment of IgG receptor IIb (FCGR2B); Fc fragment of IgG receptor IIb (FCGR2C); ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 1 (ENPP1); RAB27A member RAS oncofamily (RAB27A); hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (HPGD); prostaglandin-endoperoxidase synthase 1 (PTGS1); integrin B2 (ITGB2); leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H); radixin (RDX); ezrin (EZR); nuclear receptor subfamily 5 group A member 2 (NR5A2).
PMID: 27187064
ISSN: 1939-6376
CID: 3646202

Mir-204-5p Regulates ROR2 (Thyrosine-Protein Kinase Transmembrane Receptor) and Other Genes Involved in the Functions of the Human Endometrial Epithelium. [Meeting Abstract]

Kuokkanen, Satu; Pollard, Jeffrey W.
ISSN: 1933-7191
CID: 3646272

Activation of protein synthesis in mouse uterine epithelial cells by estradiol-17β is mediated by a PKC-ERK1/2-mTOR signaling pathway

Wang, Yuxiang; Zhu, Liyin; Kuokkanen, Satu; Pollard, Jeffrey W
The uterine epithelium of mice and humans undergoes cyclical waves of cell proliferation and differentiation under the regulation of estradiol-17β (E2) and progesterone (P4). These epithelial cells respond to E2 with increased protein and DNA synthesis, whereas P4 inhibits only the E2-induced DNA synthetic response. Here we show that E2 regulates protein synthesis in these epithelial cells through activating PKC that in turn stimulates ERK1/2 to phosphorylate and thereby activate the central regulator of protein synthesis mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). This mTOR pathway is not inhibited by P4. Inhibitor studies with an estrogen receptor (ESR1) antagonist showed the dependence of this mTOR pathway on ESR1 but that once activated, a phosphorylation cascade independent of ESR1 propagates the pathway. E2 also stimulates an IGF1 receptor (IGF1R) to PI3 kinase to AKT to GSK-3β pathway required for activation of the canonical cell cycle machinery that is inhibited by P4. PKC activation did not stimulate this pathway nor does inhibition of PKC or ERK1/2 affect it. These studies therefore indicate a mechanism whereby DNA and protein synthesis are regulated by two ESR1-activated pathways that run in parallel with only the one responsible for the initiation of DNA synthesis blocked by P4. Inhibition of mTOR by rapamycin in vivo resulted in inhibition of E2-induced protein and DNA synthesis. Proliferative diseases of the endometrium such as endometriosis and cancer are common and E2 dependent. Thus, defining this mTOR pathway suggests that local (intrauterine or peritoneal) rapamycin administration might be a therapeutic option for these diseases.
PMID: 25733860
ISSN: 1091-6490
CID: 3646172

Joint MiRNA/mRNA expression profiling reveals changes consistent with development of dysfunctional corpus luteum after weight gain

Bradford, Andrew P; Jones, Kenneth; Kechris, Katerina; Chosich, Justin; Montague, Michael; Warren, Wesley C; May, Margaret C; Al-Safi, Zain; Kuokkanen, Satu; Appt, Susan E; Polotsky, Alex J
Obese women exhibit decreased fertility, high miscarriage rates and dysfunctional corpus luteum (CL), but molecular mechanisms are poorly defined. We hypothesized that weight gain induces alterations in CL gene expression. RNA sequencing was used to identify changes in the CL transcriptome in the vervet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops) during weight gain. 10 months of high-fat, high-fructose diet (HFHF) resulted in a 20% weight gain for HFHF animals vs. 2% for controls (p = 0.03) and a 66% increase in percent fat mass for HFHF group. Ovulation was confirmed at baseline and after intervention in all animals. CL were collected on luteal day 7-9 based on follicular phase estradiol peak. 432 mRNAs and 9 miRNAs were differentially expressed in response to HFHF diet. Specifically, miR-28, miR-26, and let-7b previously shown to inhibit sex steroid production in human granulosa cells, were up-regulated. Using integrated miRNA and gene expression analysis, we demonstrated changes in 52 coordinately regulated mRNA targets corresponding to opposite changes in miRNA. Specifically, 2 targets of miR-28 and 10 targets of miR-26 were down-regulated, including genes linked to follicular development, steroidogenesis, granulosa cell proliferation and survival. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of dietary-induced responses of the ovulating ovary to developing adiposity. The observed HFHF diet-induced changes were consistent with development of a dysfunctional CL and provide new mechanistic insights for decreased sex steroid production characteristic of obese women. MiRNAs may represent novel biomarkers of obesity-related subfertility and potential new avenues for therapeutic intervention.
PMID: 26258540
ISSN: 1932-6203
CID: 3646182

Genomic profiling of microRNAs and messenger RNAs reveals hormonal regulation in microRNA expression in human endometrium

Kuokkanen, Satu; Chen, Bo; Ojalvo, Laureen; Benard, Lumie; Santoro, Nanette; Pollard, Jeffrey W
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression, have fundamental roles in biological processes, including cell differentiation and proliferation. These small molecules mainly direct either target messenger RNA (mRNA) degradation or translational repression, thereby functioning as gene silencers. Epithelial cells of the uterine lumen and glands undergo cyclic changes under the influence of the sex steroid hormones estradiol-17beta and progesterone. Because the expression of miRNAs in human endometrium has been established, it is important to understand whether miRNAs have a physiological role in modulating the expression of hormonally induced genes. The studies herein establish concomitant differential miRNA and mRNA expression profiles of uterine epithelial cells purified from endometrial biopsy specimens in the late proliferative and midsecretory phases. Bioinformatics analysis of differentially expressed mRNAs revealed cell cycle regulation as the most significantly enriched pathway in the late proliferative-phase endometrial epithelium (P = 5.7 x 10(-15)). In addition, the WNT signaling pathway was enriched in the proliferative phase. The 12 miRNAs (MIR29B, MIR29C, MIR30B, MIR30D, MIR31, MIR193A-3P, MIR203, MIR204, MIR200C, MIR210, MIR582-5P, and MIR345) whose expression was significantly up-regulated in the midsecretory-phase samples were predicted to target many cell cycle genes. Consistent with the role of miRNAs in suppressing their target mRNA expression, the transcript abundance of predicted targets, including cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases, as well as E2F3 (a known target of MIR210), was decreased. Thus, our findings suggest a role for miRNAs in down-regulating the expression of some cell cycle genes in the secretory-phase endometrial epithelium, thereby suppressing cell proliferation.
PMID: 19864316
ISSN: 1529-7268
CID: 3646152

Steroid hormone receptor profile of premenopausal endometrial polyps

Kuokkanen, Satu; Pal, Lubna
The etiology and pathogenesis of endometrial polyps (EPs) are only partially understood. To better understand how sex steroids regulate polyp growth, we investigated the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the genes of reproductive steroid hormone receptors (estrogen receptors alpha [ERalpha] and beta [ERbeta], G protein-coupled receptor 30 [GPR30], and progesterone receptor [PR]) in EP tissue and autologous normal appearing endometrium (R) Within each patient, the normal appearing endometrial tissue remote from the site of the endometrial polyp (R) was taken as an internal control. Relative expressions of genes of interest within the endometrial polyp were compared to expressions of respective genes within the internal control tissue (i.e. R). R is the abbreviation for normal appearing endometrium in the later calculation formula. Ten patients diagnosed with EP in a tertiary care center were included in this study. Directed biopsies were obtained under hysteroscopy from the EP and from a normal appearing site remote from EP along the opposite uterine wall in each patient. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used for gene expression profiling in the paired tissue samples. The relative gene expression between EP and normal appearing endometrium in each patient was analyzed with 2(-DeltaDeltaCt) method. We found that ERalpha, ERbeta, GPR30, and PR were expressed in both normal appearing endometrium and EP in each patient. ERalpha, ERbeta, GPR30, and PR showed no difference in relative expression in EP samples compared with paired normal endometrial samples from the same uterine cavity. However, the relative expression of PR correlated with that of GPR30 (r = .70, P = .023), suggesting that the co-expression of PR and GPR30 may be a contributory mechanism in the pathogenesis of EPs at least in a subset of women.
PMID: 20228382
ISSN: 1933-7205
CID: 3646162

Interactions of MicroRNAs and Cell Cycle Regulators in Hormonal Action in Human Endometrium [Meeting Abstract]

Kuokkanen, Satu; Benard, Lumie; Chen, Bo; Santoro, Nanette; Pollard, Jeffrey W.
ISSN: 1933-7191
CID: 3646262

Nuclear pore complex proteins mark the implantation window in human endometrium

Guffanti, Elisa; Kittur, Nupur; Brodt, Z Nilly; Polotsky, Alex J; Kuokkanen, Satu M; Heller, Debra S; Young, Steven L; Santoro, Nanette; Meier, U Thomas
Nucleolar channel systems (NCSs) are membranous organelles appearing transiently in the epithelial cell nuclei of postovulatory human endometrium. Their characterization and use as markers for a healthy receptive endometrium have been limited because they are only identifiable by electron microscopy. Here we describe the light microscopic detection of NCSs using immunofluorescence. Specifically, the monoclonal nuclear pore complex antibody 414 shows that NCSs are present in about half of all human endometrial epithelial cells but not in any other cell type, tissue or species. Most nuclei contain only a single NCS of uniform 1 microm diameter indicating a tightly controlled organelle. The composition of NCSs is as unique as their structure; they contain only a subset each of the proteins of nuclear pore complexes, inner nuclear membrane, nuclear lamina and endoplasmic reticulum. Validation of our robust NCS detection method on 95 endometrial biopsies defines a 6-day window, days 19-24 (+/-1) of an idealized 28 day cycle, wherein NCSs occur. Therefore, NCSs precede and overlap with the implantation window and serve as potential markers of uterine receptivity. The immunodetection assay, combined with the hitherto underappreciated prevalence of NCSs, now enables simple screening and further molecular and functional dissection.
PMID: 18505792
ISSN: 0021-9533
CID: 3640302