The role of chorionic gonadotropin (CG) in blastocyst implantation.Arch Med Res. 2001 Nov-Dec; 32(6):627-34.AM
Implantation is a complex spatio-temporal interaction between the genotypically different embryo and the mother. Success of this event requires the synchronization of development and effective biochemical communications from both sides. Chorionic gonadotropin (CG), which is a major embryonic signal in the primate, is a glycoprotein hormone synthesized and secreted by the trophoblast. Various isoforms exist in plasma, urine, and blastocyst culture medium, a result of posttranslational modifications. The exponential secretion of CG and its long circulatory half-life extends the life span of corpus luteum to maintain the supply of progesterone during the first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy. To study the direct effects of CG in the uterus, we used the baboon (Papio anubis) as a non-human primate model. In vivo stimulation with CG during the window of uterine receptivity results in further morphologic and biochemical modifications of the receptive endometrium. These are characterized by the plaque reaction in the luminal epithelium, an increase in glycodelin expression and secretion by the glandular epithelium, and the differentiation of subepithelial stromal fibroblasts characterized by expression of the alpha smooth muscle actin (alpha SMA). Pretreatment with progesterone receptor antagonist (PRa) completely or partially inhibits these effects. The signal transduction pathway activated by CG in primate endometrial epithelial cells involves the protein kinase A (PKA)-independent phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK 1/2). This alternate signal transduction pathway may prevent CG Receptor (R) downregulation at the implantation site and enhance epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation. Thus, our results suggest that CG plays an important role in implantation in addition to its luteotrophic role.