Progesterone acts on the estradiol (E2)-conditioned human endometrium to induce decidualization of stromal cells. Consistent with these differential hormone actions in vivo, progestins regulate several end points of decidualization in human endometrial stromal cell monolayers, and E2 augments the effects of progestin. This study shows that in vitro decidualization of the stromal cells is accompanied by diminished plasminogen activator (PA) expression. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic separation after immunoprecipitation of biosynthetically labeled PAs revealed that medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) lowered levels of secreted tissue type PA (tPA) at 67 kilodaltons and urokinase type PA (uPA) at 55 kilodaltons. These levels were reduced further by E2 plus MPA despite a lack of response to E2 alone. Although tPA activity was readily measured by a chromogenic assay, detection of uPA activity required prior activation, indicating that uPA is released as the pro-uPA zymogen. Comparisons of levels of immunogenic PAs, as measured by specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, with the corresponding catalytic activities revealed selective progestational inhibition of PA activity vs. antigen after 3 days of experimental incubation. Thus, 10-7 mol/L MPA produced about a 2-fold greater reduction of levels of PA activity than that of its corresponding antigen. More strikingly, 10-8 mol/L E2 plus 10-7 mol/L MPA virtually eliminated both tPA activity (99% inhibition; P < 0.005) and uPA activity (93% inhibition; P < 0.005); the reductions in levels of the corresponding antigens were only about 50% of the control levels and did not attain statistical significance. Only after 3-6 days of incubation with E2 plus MPA was statistically significant inhibition achieved for immunogenic levels of both tPA (P < 0.05) and uPA (P < 0.005). Preferential inhibition of levels of PA activities compared with those of the corresponding PA antigens reflects the action of the potent PA inhibitor PAI-1. Thus, the concentration of PAI-1 in the stromal cell-conditioned medium at the end of 0-3 days exceeded those of tPA and uPA, respectively, by 28- and 12-fold in response to MPA and by 52- and 25-fold in response to E2 plus MPA. Extrapolation of these in vitro results to the events of the luteal phase, whose steroidal milieu is mimicked by E2 plus MPA, indicates that decidual cell-derived PAI-1 is a key regulator of proteolytic degradation of extracellular matrix and fibrinolysis during implantation and menstruation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical