Dynamic Changes in Cervical Glycosaminoglycan Composition during Normal Pregnancy and Preterm Birth

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas Texas 75390-9032, USA.
Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.5). 04/2012; 153(7):3493-503. DOI: 10.1210/en.2011-1950
Source: PubMed


Glycosaminoglycans (GAG) have diverse functions that regulate macromolecular assembly in the extracellular matrix. During pregnancy, the rigid cervix transforms to a pliable structure to allow birth. Quantitative assessment of cervical GAG is a prerequisite to identify GAG functions in term and preterm birth. In the current study, total GAG levels increased at term, yet the abundance, chain length, and sulfation levels of sulfated GAG remained constant. The increase in total GAG resulted exclusively from an increase in hyaluronan (HA). HA can form large structures that promote increased viscosity, hydration, and matrix disorganization as well as small structures that have roles in inflammation. HA levels increased from 19% of total GAG in early pregnancy to 71% at term. Activity of the HA-metabolizing enzyme, hyaluronidase, increased in labor, resulting in metabolism of large to small HA. Similar to mice, HA transitions from high to low molecular weight in term human cervix. Mouse preterm models were also characterized by an increase in HA resulting from differential expression of the HA synthase (Has) genes, with increased Has1 in preterm in contrast to Has2 induction at term. The Has2 gene but not Has1 is regulated in part by estrogen. These studies identify a shift in sulfated GAG dominance in the early pregnant cervix to HA dominance in term and preterm ripening. Increased HA synthesis along with hyaluronidase-induced changes in HA size in mice and women suggest diverse contributions of HA to macromolecular changes in the extracellular matrix, resulting in loss of tensile strength during parturition.

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    • "Decorin has been studied in the uterine cervix and appears to have a role in the cervical changes of gestation and parturition by interaction with collagen fibers (as discussed by [44] [45] [46]). Hyaluronan becomes dominant at term cervix in mice and women and contributes to the loss of tensile strength of the cervix during parturition (as discussed in [47] [48]). Hyalectans, another family of ECM proteoglycans, interact with hyaluronic acid and are very important in the regulation of water retention and distribution in tissue. "
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    ABSTRACT: The role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and mechanotransduction as an important signaling factor in the human uterus is just beginning to be appreciated. The ECM is not only the substance that surrounds cells, but ECM stiffness will either compress cells or stretch them resulting in signals converted into chemical changes within the cell, depending on the amount of collagen, cross-linking, and hydration, as well as other ECM components. In this review we present evidence that the stiffness of fibroid tissue has a direct effect on the growth of the tumor through the induction of fibrosis. Fibrosis has two characteristics: (1) resistance to apoptosis leading to the persistence of cells and (2) secretion of collagen and other components of the ECM such a proteoglycans by those cells leading to abundant disposition of highly cross-linked, disoriented, and often widely dispersed collagen fibrils. Fibrosis affects cell growth by mechanotransduction, the dynamic signaling system whereby mechanical forces initiate chemical signaling in cells. Data indicate that the structurally disordered and abnormally formed ECM of uterine fibroids contributes to fibroid formation and growth. An appreciation of the critical role of ECM stiffness to fibroid growth may lead to new strategies for treatment of this common disease.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Obstetrics and Gynecology International
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    • "Proteinase-K was inactivated by boiling, and undigested tissues were pelleted by centrifugation at 16000×g. An aliquot of 100 µl supernatant equal to 5 mg dry weight of digested lung was processed for HA molecular weight determination as described elsewhere with minor modifications [80]. To remove DNA and RNA from tissue extracts, tissues were treated with 3 µl of DNase (Ambion, Austin, Texas) and 3 µl of RNaseA (1.28 mg/ml, Roche, Indianapolis, IN), respectively, for 5 h at 37°C. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Newborn resuscitation with 100% oxygen is associated with oxidative-nitrative stresses and inflammation. The mechanisms are unclear. Hyaluronan (HA) is fragmented to low molecular weight (LMW) by oxidative-nitrative stresses and can promote inflammation. We examined the effects of 100% oxygen resuscitation and treatment with the antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), on lung 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT), LMW HA, inflammation, TNFα and IL1ß in a newborn pig model of resuscitation. Methods & Principal Findings Newborn pigs (n = 40) were subjected to severe asphyxia, followed by 30 min ventilation with either 21% or 100% oxygen, and were observed for the subsequent 150 minutes in 21% oxygen. One 100% oxygen group was treated with NAC. Serum, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), lung sections, and lung tissue were obtained. Asphyxia resulted in profound hypoxia, hypercarbia and metabolic acidosis. In controls, HA staining was in airway subepithelial matrix and no 3-NT staining was seen. At the end of asphyxia, lavage HA decreased, whereas serum HA increased. At 150 minutes after resuscitation, exposure to 100% oxygen was associated with significantly higher BAL HA, increased 3NT staining, and increased fragmentation of lung HA. Lung neutrophil and macrophage contents, and serum TNFα and IL1ß were higher in animals with LMW than those with HMW HA in the lung. Treatment of 100% oxygen animals with NAC blocked nitrative stress, preserved HMW HA, and decreased inflammation. In vitro, peroxynitrite was able to fragment HA, and macrophages stimulated with LMW HA increased TNFα and IL1ß expression. Conclusions & Significance Compared to 21%, resuscitation with 100% oxygen resulted in increased peroxynitrite, fragmentation of HA, inflammation, as well as TNFα and IL1ß expression. Antioxidant treatment prevented the expression of peroxynitrite, the degradation of HA, and also blocked increases in inflammation and inflammatory cytokines. These findings provide insight into potential mechanisms by which exposure to hyperoxia results in systemic inflammation.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Proper cervical function is essential for a normal pregnancy and birth to occur. Understanding the mechanisms that take place in normal pregnancy will allow a better comprehension of the complications involved in premature cervical remodeling and lead to better methods of diagnostics and prevention for preterm birth. Unfortunately, human samples are not easily available, and samples that are collected are often confounded by variations in timing and region of cervix from which sample is collected. Animal models, specifically the mouse, have facilitated a great deal of exploration into the mechanisms of cervical function and pathways of preterm birth. This review highlights some of the groundbreaking discoveries that have arisen from murine research including 1) the identification of early pregnancy changes in collagen fibril processing and assembly that result in progressive modifications to collagen architecture with subsequent loss of tissue stiffness during pregnancy, 2) the determination that immune cells are not key to cervical ripening at term but have diverse phenotypes and functions in postpartum repair, and 3) the finding that the process of preterm cervical ripening can differ from term ripening and is dependent on the etiology of prematurity. These findings, which are relevant to human cervical biology, provide new insights that will allow targeted studies on the human cervix as well as identify potential biomarkers for early detection of premature cervical ripening and development of improved therapies to prevent premature ripening of the cervix and subsequent preterm birth.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Reproduction
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