Background: Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NACHT), leucine rich repeat (LRR) and pyrin domain (PYD) 7 containing protein, NLRP7, is a member of the NLR family which serves as innate immune sensors. Mutations and genetic variants of NLRP7 have been found in women with infertility associated conditions, such as recurrent hydatidiform mole, recurrent miscarriage, and preeclampsia. Decidualization of endometrial stromal cells is a hallmark of tissue remodeling to support embryo implantation and proper placental development. Given defective decidualization has been implicated in miscarriage as well as preeclampsia, we aimed to explore the link between the NLRP7 gene and decidualization. Methods: Endometrial samples obtained from pregnant women in the first trimester and non-pregnant women were used to study NLRP7 expression pattern. The human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT)-immortalized human endometrial stromal cells (T-HESCs) were used to study the effect of NLRP7 on decidualization. Decidualization of T-HESCs was induced with 1μM medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) and 0.5mM 8-bromoadenosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-Br-cAMP). siRNA was used to knock down NLRP7 while lentiviral vectors were used to overexpress NLRP7 in cells. NLRP7 expression was detected by immunofluorescence, qRT-PCR, and Western blotting. Decidualization markers, Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1) and prolactin (PRL), were detected by qRT-PCR and ELISA. Nuclear translocation of NLRP7 was detected by the subcellular fractionation and confocal microscopy. The effect of NLRP7 on progesterone receptor (PR) activity was evaluated by a reporter system. Results: NLRP7 was up-regulated in the decidual stromal cells of human first-trimester endometrium. After in vitro decidualization, T-HESCs presented with the swollen phenotype and increased expressions of IGFBP-1 and PRL. Knockdown or over-expression of NLRP7 reduced or enhanced the decidualization, respectively, according to the expression level of IGFBP-1. NLRP7 was found to translocate in the nucleus of decidualized T-HESCs and able to promote PR activity. Conclusions: NLRP7 was upregulated and translocated to the nucleus of the endometrial stromal cells in an in vitro decidualization model. Overexpressed NLRP7 promoted the IGFBP-1 expression and PR reporter activation. IGFBP-1 expression decreased with the knockdown of NLRP7. Therefore, we suggest that NLRP7 contributes to in vitro decidualization of endometrial stromal cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Developmental Biology