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The onset of human ectopic pregnancy demonstrates a differential expression of miRNAs and their cognate targets in the Fallopian tube

Journal article
Authors Yi Feng
S. Zou
Birgitta Weijdegård
J. Chen
Q. Cong
Julia Fernandez-Rodriguez
L. Wang
Håkan Billig
Linus Ruijin Shao
Published in International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 64-79
ISSN 1936-2625
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Core Facilities, Centre for Cellular Imaging
Pages 64-79
Language en
Keywords Dicer, Infertility, Micrornas, Target genes, Tubal ectopic pregnancy
Subject categories Physiology


Human ectopic pregnancy (EP) is a leading cause of pregnancy-related death, but the molecular basis underlying the onset of tubal EP is largely unknown. Female Dicer1 conditional knockout mice are infertile with dysfunctional Fallopian tube and have a different miRNA expression profile compared to wild-type mice, and we speculated that Dicer-mediated regulation of miRNA expression and specific miRNA-controlled targets might contribute to the onset of tubal EP. In the present study, we used microarray analysis and quantitative RT-PCR to examine the expression of miRNAs and core miRNA regulatory components in Fallopian tube tissues from women with EP. We found that the levels of DICER1, four miRNAs (let-7i, miR-149, miR-182, and miR-424), and estrogen receptor α distinguished the tubal implantation site from the non-implantation site. Computational algorithms and screening for interactions with the estrogen and progesterone receptor signaling pathways showed that the four miRNAs were predicted to target ten genes, including NEDD4, TAF15, and SPEN. Subsequent experiments showed differences in NEDD4 mRNA and protein levels between the implantation and non-implantation sites. Finally, we revealed that increases in smooth muscle cell NEDD4 and stromal cell TAF15, in parallel with a decrease in epithelial cell SPEN, were associated with tubal implantation. Our study suggests that changes in miRNA levels by the DICER-mediated miRNA-processing machinery result in aberrant expression of cell type-specific proteins that are potentially involved in the onset of tubal EP.

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