Negative effects of progesterone receptor isoform-A on human placental activity of the noncanonical NF-κB signaling

Bingbing Wang, Nataliya Parobchak, Max Rosen, Natalie Roche, Todd Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Context: Progesterone (P4)contributes to the maintenance of human pregnancy, in part by inhibiting activity of the human pro-labor genes CRH and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the action of P4 remain poorly defined. We have shown that in human placenta, the constitutively activated noncanonical nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway positively regulates CRH and COX-2, which is further stimulated by glucocorticoid receptor signaling. Objective: We investigated the role of P4 receptor (PR) in the regulation of nuclear activity of v-rel avian reticuloendotheliosis viral oncogene homolog B (RelB)/NF-κB2 and, in turn, expression of placental CRH and COX-2. Methods: We used a variety of techniques including gene silencing, ectopic expression, chromatin immunoprecipitation, Western blot, quantitative RT-PCR, and immunohistochemical staining assays in human placental tissues and primary culture of human cytotrophoblast. Results: We identified PR isoform-A (PR-A) as the only isoform of PR produced in human placenta. PR-A levels were lower in term placenta than in midterm placenta. Depletion of PR-A by short interfering RNA derepressed inhibition of CRH and COX-2 by P4 and the synthetic progestin 17α- hydroxyprogesterone caproate. Overexpression of PR-A inhibited transcription of CRH and COX-2, which was further downregulated by treatment with P4 or 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate. Such an inhibition was mediated by a negative functional interaction of PR-A with the activity of RelB/NF-κB2. Conclusion: P4 inhibits the pro-labor genesCRHand COX-2 via PR-A repression of the noncanonical NF-κB signaling in human placenta. Characterization of these pathways may identify potential drug targets for prevention of preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E320-E328
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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