The IGF family plays an important role in implantation and placental physiology. IGF-II is abundantly expressed by placental trophoblasts, and IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-4, a potent inhibitor of IGF actions, is the second most abundant IGFBP in the placental bed, expressed exclusively by the maternal decidua. Proteolysis of IGFBP-4 results in decreased affinity for IGF peptides, thereby enhancing IGF actions. In the current study, we have identified the IGFBP-4 protease and its inhibitor in human trophoblast and decidualized endometrial stromal cell cultures, and we have investigated their regulation in an effort to understand control of IGF-II bioavailability at the placental-decidual interface in human implantation. IGFBP-4 protease activity was detected in conditioned media (CM) from human trophoblasts and decidualized endometrial stromal cells using 125I-IGFBP-4 substrate. Identification of the IGFBP-4 protease as pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) was confirmed by specific immunoinhibition and immunodepletion of the IGFBP-4 protease activity with specific PAPP-A antibodies. The IGFBP-4 protease activity was IGF-II-dependent in trophoblast CM. In decidualized stromal CM, PAPP-A/IGFBP-4 protease activity was also IGF-II-dependent, but was evident only when IGF-II was added in molar excess of the predominant IGFBP in decidualized stromal cell CM, IGFBP-1, supporting bioavailable IGF-II as a key cofactor of IGFBP-4 proteolysis by PAPP-A. Cultured first and second trimester human trophoblasts (n = 5) secreted PAPP-A into CM with mean ± SEM levels of 172.4 ± 32.8 mIU/liter·105 cells, determined by specific ELISA. PAPP-A in trophoblast CM (n = 3) and did not change in the presence of IGF-II (1-100 ng/ml). Cultured human endometrial stromal cells (n = 4) secreted low levels of PAPP-A (6.25 ± 3.6 mIU/liter·105 cells). A physiological inhibitor of PAPP-A, the proform of eosinophil major basic protein (proMBP), was detected in trophoblast CM at levels of 1853 ± 308 mIU/liter·105 cells, determined by specific ELISA, and was nearly undetectable in CM of human endometrial stromal cells. Upon in vitro decidualization of endometrial stromal cells with progesterone, PAPP-A levels in CM increased nearly 9-fold without a concomitant change in proMBP. In contrast to the experiments with trophoblasts, IGF-II and the IGF analogues, Leu27 IGF-II, and Des (1-6) IGF-II, resulted in a dose-dependent decrease of PAPP-A levels in decidualized endometrial stromal CM by 70-90%, and a dose-dependent increase in proMBP of 14- to 41-fold. The data demonstrate conclusively that the IGF-II-dependent IGFBP-4 protease of human trophoblast and decidual origin is PAPP-A. Furthermore, the differential regulation of decidual PAPP-A and proMBP by insulin-like peptides supports a role for trophoblast-derived IGF-II as a paracrine regulator of these maternal decidual products that have the potential to regulate IGF-II bioavailability at the trophoblast-decidual interface. Overall, the data underscore potential roles for a complex family of enzyme (PAPP-A), substrate (IGFBP-4), inhibitor (proMBP), and cofactor (IGF-II) in the placental bed during human implantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical