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Ovarian steroid dependence of endoplasmic reticulum stress involvement in endometrial cell apoptosis during the human endometrial cycle

Ovarian steroid dependence of endoplasmic reticulum stress involvement in endometrial cell apoptosis during the human endometrial cycle

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a common cellular stress response that enhances apoptosis to trigger cell death. However, recent studies have shown that estrogen suppresses apoptosis by inhibiting ER stress in some cell types, suggesting that ER stress-induced apoptosis is regulated by ovarian steroid hormones. In endometrial cells, ER stress may also be controlled by ovarian steroid hormones and could be involved in apoptosis induction during the menstrual cycle. To test this hypothesis, we elucidate whether ER stress is regulated by ovarian steroid hormones in human endometrial cells and if it is involved in apoptosis induction. Specifically, we sought to determine the effects of estrogen and progesterone on the PERK/eIF2α/ATF4/CHOP pathway, a pro-apoptotic pathway mediated by ER stress. Our results show that ER stress maker GRP78 expression was increased in human endometrial Ishikawa and endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) treated with tunicamycin. Addition of estrogen decreased tunicamycin-induced GRP78 expression. In contrast, progesterone treatment increased GRP78 in estrogen-treated Ishikawa and ESCs, which significantly increased CHOP expression through phosphorylation of eIF2α and upregulation of ATF4. This upregulation was accompanied by an increased apoptosis induction. The progesterone-induced increase in apoptosis was reversed by either mifepristone (progesterone receptor modulator) or salubrinal (ER stress inhibitor). Furthermore, our in vivo results also showed that GRP78, CHOP expression and apoptosis were significantly increased in endometrial cells during the secretory phase as well as by in vitro treatment with progesterone. In conclusion, our results suggest that estrogen inhibits ER stress in human endometrial cells. This inhibition is reversed by progesterone during the secretory phase, and this is directly involved in apoptosis induction.


Source: The journal of Reproductive Science

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