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Possible role of the exchange protein directly activated by cyclic AMP (Epac) in the cyclic AMP-dependent functional differentiation and syncytialization of human placental BeWo cells.

Yoshie, Mikihiro; Kaneyama, Kei; Kusama, Kazuya; Higuma, Chinatsu; Nishi, Hirotaka; Isaka, Keiichi; Tamura, Kazuhiro.
Hum Reprod; 25(9): 2229-38, 2010 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20663796


The mononuclear villous cytotrophoblast (CTB) differentiates and fuses to the multinucleated syncytiotrophoblast (STB), which produces hCG and progesterone. cAMP-mediated intracellular pathways are involved in the process of endocrine differentiation and fusion (syncytialization). The exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac) is a mediator of cAMP signaling. We examined the differential roles of Epac and protein kinase A (PKA) signaling in the cell fusion and differentiation of trophoblast-derived BeWo cells.


Epac1 and Epac2 were localized in human placental tissue (n = 9) by immunohistochemistry. The PKA-selective cAMP analog (N(6)-phenyl-cAMP, Phe) or Epac-selective cAMP analog (CPT) was tested for effects on hCG and progesterone production, and syncytialization in BeWo cells. The effect of knockdown of Epac or its downstream target molecule (Rap1) on syncytialization was evaluated.


Epac1 and Epac2 proteins were expressed in villous CTB, STB, stroma, blood vessels and extravillous CTB of the placenta. Phe increased the expression of hCG alpha/beta mRNA and secretion of hCG protein in BeWo cells (P < 0.01 versus control). CPT-stimulated production of hCG (P < 0.05), albeit to a lesser extent than Phe. Progesterone production was also enhanced by Phe or CPT (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). CPT or a stable cAMP analog (dibutyryl-cAMP: Db) increased the number of syncytialized BeWo cells (P < 0.01), whereas Phe did not stimulate fusion. CPT- or Db-induced syncytialization was observed, even in the presence of a PKA inhibitor. Knockdown of Epac1 or Rap1 repressed the Db-, CPT- or forskolin-induced cell fusion.


The Epac signaling pathway may be associated with the cAMP-mediated functional differentiation and syncytialization of human trophoblasts.
Selo DaSilva