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Suppression of ERalpha activity by COUP-TFII is essential for successful implantation and decidualization.

  • Lee, Dong-Kee
  • Kurihara, Isao
  • Jeong, Jae-Wook
  • Lydon, John P
  • DeMayo, Francesco J
  • Tsai, Ming-Jer
  • Tsai, Sophia Y
Published Article
Molecular Endocrinology
The Endocrine Society
Publication Date
May 01, 2010
DOI: 10.1210/me.2009-0531
PMID: 20219888


Synchrony between embryo competency and uterine receptivity is essential for successful implantation. Mice with ablation of chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII) in the uterus (PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox)) exhibit implantation defects and increased estrogen receptor (ER)alpha activity in the luminal epithelium, suggesting high ERalpha activity may disrupt the window of uterine receptivity. To determine whether increased ERalpha activity in the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) uterus is the cause of defective implantation, we assessed whether inhibition of ERalpha activity could rescue the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) uterine implantation defect. ICI 182,780 (ICI), a pure ERalpha antagonist, was administered to PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant and COUP-TFII(flox/flox) control mice during the receptive period, and the number of implantation sites was examined. COUP-TFII(flox/flox) control mice treated with oil or ICI showed the normal number of implantation sites. As expected, no implantation sites were observed in PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice treated with oil, consistent with previous observations. In contrast, implantation sites were greatly increased in ICI-treated PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice, albeit at a reduced number in comparison with the control mice. ICI treatment was also able to restore the expression of Wnt4 and bone morphogenetic protein 2, important for endometrial decidualization in the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice. To confirm that the rescue of embryo attachment and decidualization is a consequence of a reduced ERalpha activity upon ICI treatment, we showed a reduction of the expression of ERalpha target genes in PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice. Because COUP-TFII was also shown in our laboratory to be important for placentation during pregnancy, we asked whether ICI treatment could also rescue the placentation defect to allow full-term pregnancy in these mice. We found that whereas mice were born in COUP-TFII(flox/flox) control mice given ICI, no pups were born in the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice, suggesting that the increased ERalpha activity is not the reason for placentation defects. These results demonstrate that during the periimplantation period, COUP-TFII regulates embryo attachment and decidualization through controlling ERalpha activity. However, COUP-TFII expression is still required in the postimplantation period to facilitate placentation.

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