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Estrogens and selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulators such as tamoxifen are known to increase uterine cell proliferation. Mounting evidence suggests that estrogen signaling is mediated not only by ERalpha and ERbeta nuclear receptors, but also by GPR30 (GPER), a seven transmembrane (7TM) receptor. Here, we report that primary human endometriotic H-38 cells express high levels of GPR30 with no detectable ERalpha or ERbeta. Using a novel tamoxifen analogue, STX, which activates GPR30 but not ERs, significant stimulation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways was observed in H-38 cells and in Ishikawa endometrial cancer cells expressing GPR30; a similar effect was observed in JEG3 choriocarcinoma cells. STX treatment also increased cellular pools of phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5) triphosphate, a proposed ligand for the nuclear hormone receptor SF-1 (NR5A1). Consistent with these findings, STX, tamoxifen, and the phytoestrogen genistein were able to increase SF-1 transcription, promote Ishikawa cell proliferation, and induce the SF-1 target gene aromatase in a GPR30-dependent manner. Our findings suggest a novel signaling paradigm that is initiated by estrogen activation of the 7TM receptor GPR30, with signal transduction cascades (PI3K and MAPK) converging on nuclear hormone receptors (SF-1/LRH-1) to modulate their transcriptional output. We propose that this novel GPR30/SF-1 pathway increases local concentrations of estrogen, and together with classic ER signaling, mediate the proliferative effects of synthetic estrogens such as tamoxifen, in promoting endometriosis and endometrial cancers.
Lysosomal proteases perform critical functions in protein turnover and are essential for normal growth and development. Cathepsin P is a member of a newly discovered family of lysosomal cysteine proteases uniquely expressed in rodent placenta (PECs), and is closely related to human cathepsin L. Using the rat choriocarcinoma cell line model, Rcho-1, mRNA for the PECs cathepsins P, M, Q, R, 1, 2 was found to increase in expression during differentiation into a trophoblast giant cell phenotype. By contrast, expression of cathepsin L was not regulated. A specific enzyme assay was developed to show that activity of cathepsin P mirrored mRNA expression during differentiation. Cathepsin P protein co-localizes with cathepsin B, indicating that the enzyme probably functions in the endosomal-lysosomal compartment. This study demonstrates that the PEC genes produce functional proteases that can perform specific placental roles that are probably performed by broader specificity proteases in human placenta.
Gestational choriocarcinoma is a highly metastatic neoplasm derived from placental tissue, occurring in approximately 1:20,000 - 40,000 pregnancies. Although gestational choriocarcinoma may follow any gestational event, it most commonly follows molar pregnancies. We report a case of a 24-year-old Hispanic woman with persistent trophoblastic disease who, after failing to respond to chemotherapy, was found to have metastasis to the liver and pancreas. The patient underwent successful distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy to be followed by salvage chemotherapy. Strong risk factors for choriocarcinoma include previous molar pregnancy or spontaneous abortion and increased maternal age. Gestational choriocarcinoma is classically responsive to chemotherapy; surgical excision is reserved for acute emergencies and is an acceptable option for patients with persistent disease in need of palliative treatment and tissue diagnosis.
Augmentation strategy in the treatment of schizophrenia with the NMDA receptor co-agonist glycine has demonstrated significant improvement in patient symptoms. Interestingly, the therapeutic efficacy of glycine was more consistent among patients that were not co-administered clozapine suggesting that clozapine modulates glycine levels in brain. Since cerebral glycine concentration in the vicinity of NMDA receptors is thought to be controlled by the glia expressed glycine transporter type 1 (GlyT1), the effects of several typical and atypical antipsychotics on glycine uptake were examined in human placenta choriocarcinoma (JAR) cells expressing human GlyT1a. The selectivity of these compounds was investigated by measuring their inhibitory potency at the closely related glycine transporter type 2 (GlyT2). Typical antipsychotics haloperidol, thioridazine and chlorpromazine non-selectively inhibited [(14)C]glycine uptake mediated by GlyT1a and GlyT2 with potency of 9-21 microM. The atypical antipsychotic, clozapine antagonized glycine transport by human GlyT1a with an IC(50) of 100 microM and was weaker at recombinant GlyT2. Its main metabolites, N-desmethylclozapine and clozapine N-oxide were very weak inhibitors at all glycine transporters. Similarly, olanzapine did not potently block GlyT1a- and GlyT2-mediated uptake. Detailed kinetic analysis of hGlyT1a in the presence and absence of haloperidol and clozapine revealed that both drugs were not competitive inhibitors of glycine uptake. Data also indicated that these compounds did not interact with the Na(+) and Cl(-) sites of hGlyT1a. Our results have revealed the existence of an inhibitory interaction between some antipsychotics and hGlyT1a and raise the possibility that these drugs could interact with GlyT1 function at therapeutic doses.
Maternal-facing brush border membrane vesicles isolated from normal term human placentas were found to accumulate norepinephrine in a concentrative manner in the presence of an inwardly directed NaCl gradient. Both Na+ and Cl- were obligatory for maximal uptake. The NaCl-dependent norepinephrine uptake was further stimulated by the presence of K+ or an acidic pH in the intravesicular medium. The uptake process was electrogenic, being stimulated by an inside-negative membrane potential, and this characteristic was observed in the absence as well as in the presence of K+ inside the vesicles. Kinetic analyses revealed that one Na+ and one Cl- were involved per transport of one norepinephrine molecule. The apparent Michaelis-Menten constant for norepinephrine was 104 +/- 5nM. The uptake process exhibited higher affinity for dopamine than for norepinephrine but had low affinity for serotonin and histamine. The uptake of norepinephrine was inhibited very effectively by nomifensine, desipramine, imipramine, and cocaine, but much less effectively by bupropion and GBR 12909. Northern blot analysis with the cDNA of the human (SK-N-SH cell) norepinephrine transporter as the probe revealed that the human placenta contained two mRNAs, 5.8 and 3.6 kb in size, which hybridized to the probe. The JAR human placental choriocarcinoma cells were found unable to accumulate norepinephrine in a NaCl-dependent manner. These cells were also found not to contain mRNAs which hybridized to the norepinephrine cDNA probe in northern blot. It is concluded that the human placental syncytiotrophoblast expresses a cocaine-sensitive norepinephrine transporter and that these findings may be directly relevant and important to the clinical complications of maternal cocaine abuse during pregnancy.
Treatment of confluent cultures of JAR human placental choriocarcinoma cells with cholera toxin or forskolin for 16 h markedly stimulated (2.4-fold) serotonin transport activity in these cells. Cycloheximide, an inhibitor of protein synthesis or actinomycin D, an inhibitor of mRNA synthesis effectively blocked this stimulation. Northern blot analysis revealed that treatment with cholera toxin resulted in severalfold increase in the concentrations of the three mRNA species (6.8, 4.9 and 3.0 kilobases in size) which hybridized to the human placental serotonin transporter cDNA. Under similar conditions, the concentrations of the mRNA species which hybridized to the human placental taurine transporter cDNA or to the human beta-actin cDNA were not affected. Analysis of paroxetine-sensitive binding of the cocaine analog 2 beta-carbomethoxy-3 beta-(4- [125I]iodophenyl)tropane to the membranes prepared from control and cholera toxin-treated cells indicated that the maximal binding capacity was increased 2.5-fold by cholera toxin, with no significant change in the binding affinity. Thus, stimulation of serotonin transporter activity in the placental choriocarcinoma cells following cholera toxin treatment is likely a result of an increase in cell surface density of the serotonin transporter protein as a consequence of increased steady state serotonin transporter mRNA levels.
The gene encoding the alpha subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin contains at least two polymorphic sites in its 3' flanking region detected by restriction enzymes HindIII and EcoRI. We used these polymorphic sites as markers of tissue genotype in normal placenta, hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma, and peripheral leukocytes. As expected, inheritance patterns of most hydatidiform moles showed only a paternal genetic contribution. However, one uncommon DNA polymorphism pattern, homozygosity for the absence of the EcoRI site and the presence of the HindIII site, predominated in choriocarcinoma. Thus, our results suggest that moles which have this uncommon polymorphism pattern appear particularly likely to develop into choriocarcinoma.
Normal trophoblast of the human placenta elaborates at least two major protein hormones, chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and placental lactogen (hPL). Molar and choriocarcinoma tissues characteristically synthesize large amounts of hCG and hPL. To examine the role of trophoblast differentiation in the expression of the hCG and hPL genes, we studied the cytological distribution of their mRNAs in tissue sections of human hydatidiform mole and choriocarcinoma by in situ hybridization. Histologically, these tissues are in different stages of cellular differentiation. In normal placenta, hCG alpha/beta mRNA can be localized to some cytotrophoblasts and primarily to the syncytium, whereas hPL mRNA appears only in the syncytial layer. In hydatidiform mole, which still retains placental villous morphology, the hPL gene and hCG alpha and beta genes are expressed but are poorly localized because of the admixture of cyto- and syncytiotrophoblasts. By contrast, choriocarcinoma, which is devoid of placental villous pattern but in which the cyto- and syncytiotrophoblast-like components are distinguishable, expresses hCG alpha and beta in the syncytial-like areas but little, if any, hPL. These results suggest that a certain level of trophoblast differentiation, such as villous formation, is associated with hPL expression, while the hCG alpha gene and the hCG beta gene can be expressed in more disorganized tissues which contain cytotrophoblastic elements.
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) binds to JEG-3 cells, a tissue culture line of human choriocarcinoma. EGF also stimulates secretion of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and to a lesser extent the secretion of free hCG-alpha.