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Kisspeptin regulation of genes involved in cell invasion and angiogenesis in first trimester human trophoblast cells

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    Rights statement: Copyright: © 2014 Francis et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere99680
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2014


The precise regulation of extravillous trophoblast invasion of the uterine wall is a key process in successful pregnancies. Kisspeptin (KP) has been shown to inhibit cancer cell metastasis and placental trophoblast cell migration. In this study primary cultures of first trimester human trophoblast cells have been utilized in order to study the regulation of invasion and angiogenesis-related genes by KP. Trophoblast cells were isolated from first trimester placenta and their identity was confirmed by immunostaining for cytokeratin-7. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that primary trophoblast cells express higher levels of GPR54 (KP receptor) and KP mRNA than the trophoblast cell line HTR8Svneo. Furthermore, trophoblast cells also expressed higher GPR54 and KP protein levels. Treating primary trophoblast cells with KP induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation, while co-treating the cells with a KP antagonist almost completely blocked the activation of ERK1/2 and demonstrated that KP through its cognate GPR54 receptor can activate ERK1/2 in trophoblast cells. KP reduced the migratory capability of trophoblast cells in a scratch-migration assay. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that KP treatment reduced the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 14 and VEGF-A, and increased the expression of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases 1 and 3. These results suggest that KP can inhibit first trimester trophoblast cells invasion via inhibition of cell migration and down regulation of the metalloproteinase system and VEGF-A.

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