Notch2 controls prolactin and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 expression in decidualizing human stromal cells of early pregnancy.

PloS one

PubMedID: 25397403

Otti GR, Saleh L, Velicky P, Fiala C, Pollheimer J, Knöfler M. Notch2 controls prolactin and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 expression in decidualizing human stromal cells of early pregnancy. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(11):e112723.
Decidualization, the transformation of the human uterine mucosa into the endometrium of pregnancy, is critical for successful implantation and embryonic development. However, key regulatory factors controlling differentiation of uterine stromal cells into hormone-secreting decidual cells have not been fully elucidated. Hence, we herein investigated the role of the Notch signaling pathway in human decidual stromal cells (HDSC) isolated from early pregnancy samples. Immunofluorescence of first trimester decidual tissues revealed expression of Notch2 receptor and its putative, membrane-anchored interaction partners Jagged1, Delta-like (DLL) 1 and DLL4 in stromal cells whereas other Notch receptors and ligands were absent from these cells. During in vitro differentiation with estrogen/progesterone (E2P4) and/or cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) HDSC constitutively expressed Notch2 and weakly downregulated Jagged1 mRNA and protein, measured by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and Western blotting, respectively. However, increased levels of DLL1 and DLL4 were observed in the decidualizing cultures. Transfection of a Notch luciferase reporter and qPCR of the Notch target gene hairy and enhancer of split 1 (HES1) revealed an induction of canonical Notch activity during in vitro differentiation. In contrast, treatment of HDSC with a chemical Notch/?-secretase inhibitor decreased cAMP/E2P4-stimulated Notch luciferase activity, HES1 transcript levels and mRNA expression of the decidual marker genes prolactin (PRL) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP1). Similarly, siRNA-mediated gene silencing or antibody-mediated blocking of Notch2 diminished HES1, PRL and IGFBP1 mRNA levels as well as secreted PRL protein. In summary, the data suggest that canonical, Notch2-dependent signaling plays a role in human decidualization.