Placental growth factor is secreted by the human endometrium and has potential important functions during embryo development and implantation

Natalie K. Binder, Jemma Evans, Lois A. Salamonsen, David K. Gardner, Tu'uhevaha J. Kaitu'u-Lino, Natalie J. Hannan

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Embryo implantation requires synchronized dialogue between the receptive endometrium and activated blastocyst via locally produced soluble mediators. During the mid-secretory (MS) phase of the menstrual cycle, increased glandular secretion into the uterine lumen provides important mediators that modulate the endometrium and support the conceptus during implantation. Previously we demonstrated the importance of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the human uterus, particularly with respect to embryo implantation. In the current study, proteomic analysis of human uterine lavage fluid identified the presence of placental growth factor (PlGF) a homolog of VEGF, that binds the VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR1). Analysis of immunostaining for PlGF in human endometrial tissue across the menstrual cycle (from both fertile and infertile women) revealed PlGF was predominantly localised to glandular and luminal epithelial cells, with staining in the decidualising stromal cells surrounding the maternal spiral arteries in the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle. Immunoreactive PlGF was also detected in subpopulations of endometrial leukocytes. Functional studies demonstrated that culturing mouse embryos with recombinant human (rh)PlGF enhanced blastocyst cell number and outgrowth. Furthermore, treatment of human endometrial epithelial cells (EEC) with rhPlGF enhanced EEC adhesion. Taken together, these data demonstrate that PlGF is abundant in the human endometrium, and secreted into the uterine lumen where it mediates functional changes in cellular adhesion with important roles in implantation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0163096
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2016

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