The molecular changes that support implantation in eutherian mammals are necessary to establish pregnancy. In marsupials, pregnancy is relatively short, and although a placenta does form, it is present for only a few days before parturition. However, morphological changes in the uterus of marsupials at term mimic those that occur during implantation in humans and mice. We investigated themolecular similarity between term pregnancy in the marsupials and implantation in eutherian mammals using the gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica) as a model. Transcriptomic analysis shows that term pregnancy in the opossum is characterized by an inflammatory response consistent with implantation in humans and mice. This immune response is temporally correlated with the loss of the eggshell, and we used immunohistochemistry to report that this reaction occurs at the materno-fetal interface. We demonstrate that key markers of implantation, including Heparin binding EGF-like growth factor and Mucin 1, exhibit expression and localization profiles consistent with the pattern observed during implantation in eutherian mammals. Finally, we show that there are transcriptome-wide similarities between the opossum attachment reaction and implantation in rabbits and humans. Our data suggest that the implantation reaction that occurs in eutherians is derived froman attachment reaction in the ancestral therianmammal which, in the opossum, leads directly to parturition. Finally, we argue that the ability to shift from an inflammatory attachment reaction to a noninflammatory period of pregnancy was a key innovation in eutherian mammals that allowed an extended period of intimate placentation.
Failure of embryo implantation is a major limiting factor in early pregnancy and assisted reproduction. Determinants of implantation include the embryo viability, the endometrial receptivity, and embryo-maternal interactions. Multiple molecules are involved in the regulation of implantation, but their specific regulatory mechanisms remain unclear. MicroRNA (miRNA), functioning as the transcriptional regulator of gene expression, has been widely reported to be involved in embryo implantation. Recent studies reveal that miRNAs not only act inside the cells, but also can be released by cells into the extracellular environment through multiple packaging forms, facilitating intercellular communication and providing indicative information associated with physiological and pathological conditions. The discovery of extracellular miRNAs shed new light on implantation studies. MiRNAs provide new mechanisms for embryo-maternal communication. Moreover, they may serve as non-invasive biomarkers for embryo selection and assessment of endometrial receptivity in assisted reproduction, which improves the accuracy of evaluation while reducing the mechanical damage to the tissue. In this review, we discuss the involvement of miRNAs in embryo implantation from several aspects, focusing on the role of extracellular miRNAs and their potential applications in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to promote fertility efficiency.
Abstract A cross-sectional study was carried out at the Australian Concept Infertility Medical Centre from June 2014 to June 2015 to relate serum kisspeptin levels on human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) day with pregnancy outcome after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). A total of 176 women aged 20 to 42 years, with regular menstrual cycles, normal thyroid function and prolactin levels selected for ICSI were included in the study. Patients with uterine fibroids, metabolic disorders, short agonist and antagonist protocol were excluded. Long protocol for down-regulation of ovaries was observed and kisspeptin levels were estimated on HCG day. Results were categorized into groups: Group A, non-pregnant with β-HCG 25 mIU/ml and cardiac activity on transvaginal scan. Kisspeptin levels were significantly higher in Group B versus Group A ( P < 0.001), independently associated with positive pregnancy ( r = 0.388; P < 0.001), but just borderline with endometrial thickness ( r = 0.294; P = 0.05). The area under the curve was highest for kisspeptin, 0.784 (95% CI, 0.681 to 0.886) for positive pregnancy, which indicated that kisspeptin measured on HCG day can be used as a marker for success of treatment in women after ICSI.
Background/Aims: Hmgn2 is involved in regulating embryonic development, but its physiological function during embryo implantation and decidualization remains unknown. Methods: In situ hybridization, real-time PCR, RNA interference, gene overexpression and MTS assay were used to examine the expression of Hmgn2 in mouse uterus during the pre-implantation period and explore its function and regulatory mechanisms in epithelial adhesion junction and stromal cell proliferation and differentiation. Results: Hmgn2 was primarily accumulated in uterine luminal epithelia on day 4 of pregnancy and subluminal stromal cells around the implanting blastocyst at implantation sites on day 5. Similar results were observed during delayed implantation and activation. Meanwhile, Hmgn2 expression was visualized in the decidua. In uterine epithelial cells, silencing of Hmgn2 by specific siRNA reduced the expression of adhesion molecules Cdh1, Cdh2 and Ctnnb1 and enhanced the expression of Muc1, whereas constitutive activation of Hmgn2 exhibited the opposite effects, suggesting a role for Hmgn2 in attachment reaction during embryo implantation. Estrogen stimulated the expression of Hmgn2 in uterine epithelia, but the stimulation was abrogated by ER antagonist ICI 182,780. Further analysis evidenced that attenuation of Hmgn2 might eliminate the regulation of estrogen on the expression of Cdh1, Cdh2 and Ctnnb1. In uterine stromal cells, progesterone induced the accumulation of Hmgn2 which advanced the expression of Prl8a2 and Prl3c1, two well-known differentiation markers for decidualization, but did not affect the proliferation of stromal cells. Knockdown of Hmgn2 blocked the progesterone-induced differentiation of uterine stromal cells. Moreover, Hmgn2 might serve as an intermediate to mediate the regulation of progesterone on Hand2. Conclusion: Hmgn2 may play an important role during embryo implantation and decidualization.
Abstract Uterine luminal epithelium (LE) is essential for establishing uterine receptivity. Previous microarray analysis revealed upregulation of Atp6v0d2 in gestation day 4.5 (D4.5) LE in mice. Realtime PCR showed upregulation of uterine Atp6v0d2 starting right before embryo attachment ∼D4.0. In situ hybridization demonstrated specific uterine localization of Atp6v0d2 in LE upon embryo implantation. Atp6v0d2 encodes one subunit for vacuolar-type H+-ATPase (V-ATPase), which regulates acidity of intracellular organelles and extracellular environment. LysoSensor Green DND-189 detected acidic signals in LE and glandular epithelium upon embryo implantation, correlating with Atp6v0d2 upregulation in early pregnant uterus. Atp6v0d2 −/− females had significantly reduced implantation rate and marginally reduced delivery rate from first mating only, but comparable number of implantation sites and litter size compared to control and comparable fertility to control from subsequent matings, suggesting a nonessential role of Atp6v0d2 subunit in embryo implantation. Successful implantation in both control and Atp6v0d2 −/− females was associated with uterine epithelial acidification. No significant compensatory upregulation of Atp6v0d1 mRNA was detected in D4.5 Atp6v0d2 −/− uteri. To determine the role of V-ATPase instead of a single subunit in embryo implantation, a specific V-ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin A1 (2.5 μg/kg) was injected via uterine fat pad on D3 18:00 h. This treatment resulted in reduced uterine epithelial acidification, delayed implantation, and reduced number of implantation sites. It also suppressed oil-induced artificial decidualization. These data demonstrate uterine epithelial acidification as a novel phenomenon during embryo implantation and V-ATPase is involved in uterine epithelial acidification and uterine preparation for embryo implantation. Our findings that mouse uterine epithelium becomes more acidic upon embryo implantation initiation and suppression of uterine epithelial acidification adversely affects embryo implantation provide a novel direction for understanding mechanisms in establishing uterine receptivity.
Is implantation failure following ART associated with a perturbed decidual response in endometrial stromal cells (EnSCs)? Dynamic changes in the secretome of decidualizing EnSCs underpin the transition of a hostile to a supportive endometrial microenvironment for embryo implantation; perturbation in this transitional pathway prior to ART is associated with implantation failure. Implantation is the rate-limiting step in ART, although the contribution of an aberrant endometrial microenvironment in IVF failure remains ill defined. In vitro characterization of the temporal changes in the decidual response of primary EnSCs isolated prior to a successful or failed ART cycle. An analysis of embryo responses to secreted cues from undifferentiated and decidualizing EnSCs was performed. The primary clinical outcome of the study was a positive urinary pregnancy test 14 days after embryo transfer. Primary EnSCs were isolated from endometrial biopsies obtained prior to IVF treatment and cryopreserved. EnSCs from 10 pregnant and 10 non-pregnant patients were then thawed, expanded in culture, subjected to clonogenic assays, and decidualized for either 2 or 8 days. Transcript levels of decidual marker gene [prolactin (PRL), insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP1) and 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD11B1)] were analysed using real-time quantitative PCR and temporal secretome changes of 45 cytokines, chemokines and growth factors were measured by multiplex suspension bead immunoassay. The impact of the EnSC secretome on human blastocyst development was scored morphologically; and embryo secretions in response to EnSC cues analyzed by multiplex suspension bead immunoassay. Clonogenicity and induction of decidual marker genes were comparable between EnSC cultures from pregnant and non-pregnant group groups (P > 0.05). Analysis of 23 secreted factors revealed that successful implantation was associated with co-ordinated secretome changes in decidualizing EnSCs, which were most pronounced on Day 2 of differentiation: 17 differentially secreted proteins on Day 2 of decidualization relative to undifferentiated (Day 0) EnSCs (P 0.05). Not applicable. Although this study uses primary EnSCs and human embryos, caution is warranted when extrapolating the results to the in vivo situation because of the correlative nature of the study and limited sample size. Our finding raises the prospect that endometrial analysis prior to ART could minimize the risk of treatment failure. This work was supported by funds from the Biomedical Research Unit in Reproductive Health, a joint initiative of the University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust and Warwick Medical School, the University of Nottingham and Nurture Fertility, and the National Medical Research Council, Singapore (NMRC/BNIG14NOV023), the "Instituut voor Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie" (IWT, Flanders, Belgium), the "Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek" (FWO, Flanders, Belgium) and the "Wetenschappelijk Fonds Willy Gepts" (WFWG, UZ Brussel). The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.
We evaluated the relationship between meiotic spindle characteristics and in vitro fertilization cycle outcome. Five hundred sixty-nine oocytes from 86 in vitro fertilization cycles were analyzed for fertilization and subsequent implantation rates. Oocytes were assessed for maturation status. The oocytes and embryos were cultured in sequential and nonsequential media (G Series, Vitrolife, Sweden) and incubated in 6% CO2, 5% O-2 at 37 A degrees C. Two hours following oocyte decumulation (38-39 h post-hCG/GnRH administration) and prior to microinjection, the structure of the meiotic spindle was assessed using the Oosight Imaging System (CRI, UK). Four hundred fifty-six oocytes (80.5%) had a visible meiotic spindle, 82 (14.7%) had no meiotic spindle, and 31 (5.5%) were in telophase I. Oocytes exhibiting a meiotic spindle had a significantly higher fertilization rate and a lower rate of abnormal fertilization. Implantation data were obtained for 195 of the embryos transferred. The implantation rate for embryos derived from oocytes with a meiotic spindle was 32.9%, while in embryos originating from oocytes without a meiotic spindle and oocytes in telophase, this value dropped significantly (8.8 and 0%, respectively). To determine the correlation between retardance values and implantation rate for each oocyte, we established four groups, finding a range of retardance values with significantly higher implantation rates (27.5, 21, 29.3, and 53.8%, respectively). Meiotic spindle imaging may be a valuable tool for prediction of oocyte quality, and retardance values of meiotic spindles, together with classical morphological classification, can be useful to select embryos with a higher implantation potential.
Natural and synthetic progestogens have been commonly used to prevent recurrent pregnancy loss in women with inadequate progesterone secretion or reduced progesterone sensitivity. However, the clinical efficacy of progesterone and its analogs for maintaining pregnancy is variable. Additionally, the underlying cause of impaired endometrial progesterone responsiveness during early pregnancy remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated that uterine-selective depletion of BMI1, a key component of the polycomb repressive complex-1 (PRC1), hampers uterine progesterone responsiveness and derails normal uterine receptivity, resulting in implantation failure in mice. We further uncovered genetic and biochemical evidence that BMI1 interacts with the progesterone receptor (PR) and the E3 ligase E6AP in a polycomb complex-independent manner and regulates the PR ubiquitination that is essential for normal progesterone responsiveness. A close association of aberrantly low endometrial BMI1 expression with restrained PR responsiveness in women who had previously had a miscarriage indicated that the role of BMI1 in endometrial PR function is conserved in mice and in humans. In addition to uncovering a potential regulatory mechanism of BMI1 that ensures normal endometrial progesterone responsiveness during early pregnancy, our findings have the potential to help clarify the underlying causes of spontaneous pregnancy loss in women.