2. Department of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology -Center for Biomedical Proteomics, USA.
3. Department of Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia 23507, USA.
4. The Jones institute for Reproductive Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, USA.
5. Columbia Fertility Associates, 2440 M St NW, Suite 401, Washington DC 20037, USA.
6. Computational Bioscience Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Objective: We have recently showed that MFGE8, a novel epithelial cell protein in the human endometrium, upregulated during the window of implantation. We hypothesized that MFGE8 may act as a key modulator of endometrial remodeling and trophoblast invasion. The aims of this study were (i) to investigate the in vitro regulation of human endometrial epithelial cells MFGE8 transcription, translation, and secretion by sex steroids and hCG; and (ii) to examine the possibility of MFGE8 secretion via microvesicles.
Design: Experimental in vitro study using Ishikawa cells.
Setting: University center.
Interventions: Treatment with estradiol (E2), progesterone (P4), and human chorionic gonatropin (hCG).
Main outcome measures: MFGE8 mRNA and protein expression, and identification of secreted microvesicles by mass spectrometry (MS) and immunoblotting.
Results: E2, but not P4 or hCG, significantly upregulated MFGE8 mRNA expression. hCG significantly increased MFGE8 secretion. Microvesicels obtained after ultracentrifugation were visualized with atomic force microscopy ranging from ~100 to 200 nm. In addition to the expected 46 kD protein, the microvesicles contained a second form of secreted MFGE8 measuring ~30 kD which was confirmed by MS.
Conclusions: We demonstrated (i) dual effects of E2 and hCG on the regulation of MFGE8, and (ii) MFGE8 protein secretion in association with microvesicles. MFGE8 has the potential to modulate endometrial function and implantation via exocrine and/ or paracrine-autocrine effects. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of microvesicular secretion of any regulatory protein by endometrial epithelial cells, providing initial evidence suggestive of microvesicular participation in cellular trafficking information in the non-pregnant and pregnant endometrium.
Keywords: Endometrium, gene expression, MFGE8, microvesicles