Expression of hypoxia-inducible factors in the peri-implantation mouse uterus is regulated in a cell-specific and ovarian steroid hormone-dependent manner. Evidence for differential function of HIFs during early pregnancy

Takiko Daikoku, Hiromichi Matsumoto, Rajnish A. Gupta, Sanjoy K. Das, Max Gassmann, Raymond N. DuBois, Sudhansu K. Dey

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74 Scopus citations


Increased uterine vascular permeability and angiogenesis are hallmarks of implantation and placentation. These events are profoundly influenced by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). We previously showed that VEGF isoforms and VEGF receptors are expressed in the uterus, suggesting the role of VEGF in uterine vascular permeability and angiogenesis required for implantation and decidualization. We have recently shown that estrogen promotes uterine vascular permeability but inhibits angiogenesis, whereas progesterone stimulates angiogenesis with little effect on vascular permeability. However, the mechanism of differential steroid hormonal regulation of uterine angiogenesis remains unresolved. Oxygen homeostasis is essential for cell survival and is primarily mediated by hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). These factors are intimately associated with vascular events and induce VEGF expression by binding to the hypoxia response element in the VEGF promoter. HIFα isoforms function by forming heterodimers with the aryl hydrocarbon nuclear translocator (ARNT) (HIF-β) family members. There is very limited information on the relationship among HIFs, ARNTs, and VEGF in the uterus during early pregnancy, although the role of HIFs in regulating VEGF and angiogenesis in cancers is well documented. Using molecular and physiological approaches, we here show that uterine expression of HIFs and ARNTs does not correlate with VEGF expression during the preimplantation period (days 1-4) in mice. In contrast, their expression follows the localization of uterine VEGF expression with increasing angiogenesis during the postimplantation period (days 5-8). This disparate pattern of uterine HIFs, ARNTs, and VEGF expression on days 1-4 of pregnancy suggests HIFs have multiple roles in addition to the regulation of angiogenesis during the peri-implantation period. Using pharmacological, molecular, and genetic approaches, we also observed that although progesterone primarily up-regulates uterine HIF-1α expression, estrogen transiently stimulates that of HIF-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7683-7691
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 28 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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