1 Placental development during early pregnancy in sheep: Cell proliferation, global

Page 1 of 40
Reproduction Advance Publication first posted on 27 January 2011 as Manuscript REP-10-0505
1
Placental development during early pregnancy in sheep: Cell proliferation, global
2
methylation and angiogenesis in the fetal placenta
3
4
5
Anna T. Grazul-Bilska, Mary Lynn Johnson, Pawel P. Borowicz, Megan Minten, Jerzy J. Bilski,
6
Robert Wroblewski, Mila Velimirovich, Lindsey R. Coupe, Dale A. Redmer and Lawrence P.
7
Reynolds.
8
9
10
Department of Animal Sciences, Center for Nutrition and Pregnancy, North Dakota State
University, Fargo, ND 58108.
11
12
Short title: Fetal placental development during early pregnancy
13
14
Correspondence should be addressed to Anna T Grazul-Bilska; E-mail Anna.Grazul-
15
Bilska@ndsu.edu
1
Copyright © 2011 by the Society for Reproduction and Fertility.
Page 2 of 40
16
Abstract
17
To characterize early fetal placental development, gravid uterine tissues were collected
18
from pregnant ewes every other day from day 16 to 30 after mating. Determination of: 1)
19
cell proliferation was based on Ki67 protein immunodetection; 2) global methylation was
20
based on 5-methyl-cytosine (5mC) expression and mRNA expression for DNA
21
methyltransferase (DNMT) 1, 3a and 3b; and 3) vascular development was based on smooth
22
muscle cell actin immunolocalization and on mRNA expression of several factors involved
23
in the regulation of angiogenesis in fetal membranes (FM). Throughout early pregnancy,
24
labeling index (proportion of proliferating cells) was very high (21%) and did not change.
25
Expression of 5mC and mRNA for DNMT3b decreased, but mRNA for DNMT1 and 3a
26
increased. Blood vessels were detected in FM on days 18 to 30 of pregnancy, and their
27
number per tissue area did not change. The patterns of mRNA expression for: placental
28
growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, and their receptors FLT1 and KDR;
29
angiopoietins 1 and 2 and their receptor TEK; endothelial nitric oxide synthase and the NO
30
receptor GUCY13B; and hypoxia inducing factor 1 alpha changed in FM during early
31
pregnancy. These data demonstrate high cellular proliferation rates, and changes in global
32
methylation and mRNA expression of factors involved in the regulation of DNA
33
methylation and angiogenesis in FM during early pregnancy. This description of cellular
34
and molecular changes in FM during early pregnancy will provide the foundation for
35
determining the basis of altered placental development in pregnancies compromised by
36
environmental, genetic or other factors.
37
38
Introduction
2
Page 3 of 40
39
The placenta is the exchange organ for all respiratory gases, nutrients, and wastes
40
between the fetal and maternal tissues (Ramsey, 1982; Faber & Thornburg, 1983). Thus,
41
placental development is critical for supplying the fetus with metabolic substrates via
42
transplacental exchange (Needham 1934, Ramsey 1982, Faber & Thornburg 1983, Morriss &
43
Boyd 1988, Reynolds et al. 2010). Many aspects of placental function play major roles in fetal
44
tissue growth including expression of specific genes, methylation patterns, vascularization,
45
hormone production and other processes (Reynolds & Redmer 2001, Reynolds et al. 2002, 2006,
46
2010, Blomberg et al 2008). Therefore, fetal development and pregnancy maintenance are
47
dependent on normal placental growth.
48
The placenta represents a type of organ which expresses a high rate of growth in order to
49
fulfill the metabolic demands of the growing fetus (Reynolds et al. 2002, 2006, 2010).
50
Although the role of hypertrophy and hyperplasia in placental growth has been recognized (Boos
51
et al. 2006, Murphy et al. 2006), very limited data are available concerning the rates and pattern
52
of cell proliferation in fetal membranes (FM) during early pregnancy. However, high
53
proliferation rates have been reported for placenta during early pregnancy in several species
54
(Blankenship & King 1994, Correia-da-Silva et al. 2004, Wei et al. 2005, Kar et al. 2007,
55
Grazul-Bilska et al. 2010). In addition, it has been demonstrated using transcriptome analysis
56
that genes which regulate trophoblast cell proliferation, cell differentiation, angiogenesis, and
57
numerous other genes which facilitate mother-fetus interactions are upregulated in fetal placenta
58
during early pregnancy in ruminants (Blomberg et al. 2008).
59
DNA methylation, which is catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), is generally
60
associated with transcriptional silencing and imprinting, principally occuring at cytosine residues
61
located in dinucleotide CpG sites and is the most extensively characterized epigenetic mark in
3
Page 4 of 40
62
mammals (Hiendleder et al. 2004, Wilson et al. 2007, Beck & Rakyan 2008). In fact, DNMTs
63
are required for cell differentiation during embryonic development to regulate gene expression
64
through methylation mechanisms (Gopalakrishnan et al, 2008). DNA methyltransferase 1 is
65
primarily considered the maintenance methyltransferase (Bird 2002, Gopalakrishnan et al. 2008,
66
Kim et al. 2009); however other functions of DNMT1, such as methylation of non-CpG sites in
67
DNA bubbles have been recently discovered (Ross et al. 2010). Other methyltransefrases,
68
DNMT3A and DNMT3B are responsible for establishing de novo DNA methylation patterns
69
(Gopalakrishnan et al. 2008).
70
Although DNA methylation is the most commonly studied mode of epigenetic regulation,
71
the process of methylation/demethylation or the expression of the enzymes that promote
72
methylation have not been investigated in detail in the placenta. It has been demonstrated that
73
around the time of gastrulation and implantation, de novo methylation reestablishes the
74
developing organism’s methylation patterns both in the embryo and in extraembryonic tissues
75
(Maccani & Marsit 2009). However, the pattern of methylation in the embryo differs from the
76
extraembryonic tissues (Monk et al. 1987; Katari et al. 2009). In human placenta collected from
77
several stages of pregnancy and at term, low expression of 5-methyl-cytosine (5mC) and relative
78
hypomethylation have been reported (Kokalj-Vokac et al. 1998, Katari et al. 2009). Many genes
79
expressed in extraembryonic tissues are imprinted (Reik et al. 2001, Myatt et al. 2006, Jansson
80
& Powell, 2007), and several of these imprinted genes are involved in regulating fetal and
81
placental growth (Reik et al. 2001, 2003, Myatt et al. 2006, Wagschal et al. 2008). Thus, DNA
82
methylation plays a significant role during embryonic and placental development in
83
physiological and pathological conditions (Kim et al. 2009). However, little is known about
84
global methylation and expression of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) in placental tissues
4
Page 5 of 40
85
86
during early pregnancy in any species.
Vascularization of both fetal and maternal placenta is a critical factor in pregnancy
87
maintenance (Zygmunt et al. 2003, Huppertz & Peeters 2005, Arroyo & Winn 2008, Reynolds et
88
al. 2006, 2010). Fetal placental vasculogenesis, which is a result of de novo formation of blood
89
vessels, is initiated very early in pregnancy (e.g., in humans about 21 days, in rhesus monkey
90
about 19 days post conception; Kaufmann et al. 2004). Vasculogenesis is very tightly regulated
91
by angiogenic and other factors (Flamme et al. 1997, Patan 2000, Kaufmann et al. 2004, Demir
92
et al. 2007). Although expression of several factors involved in the control of angiogenesis has
93
been studied in the placenta of several species, limited information concerning expression of
94
these factors is available for FM during early pregnancy.
95
We hypothesized that the patterns of cellular proliferation, global methylation of DNA,
96
expression of several DNMTs, vascular development, and expression of factors involved in the
97
regulation of angiogenesis in FM will change as early pregnancy progresses. Therefore, the
98
objective of this experiment was to determine 1) labeling index (LI; a proportion of proliferating
99
cells), 2) global methylation based on expression of 5mC in DNA and expression of mRNA for
100
DNMT1, 3a and 3b, 3) development of blood vessels based on immunodetection of smooth
101
muscle cell actin (SMCA; a marker of pericytes and smooth muscle cells, and thus blood
102
vessels), and 4) expression of 12 factors involved in the regulation of angiogenesis and their
103
receptors including placental growth factor (PGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
104
and their receptors FLT1 and KDR, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 2 and receptor 2IIIc,
105
angiopoietin (ANGPT) 1 and 2 and their receptors TEK, endothelial NO synthase (NOS3) and
106
receptor soluble guanylate cyclase (GUCY1B3), and hypoxia inducing factor 1 alpha (HIF1A) in
107
FM during early pregnancy in sheep.
5
Page 6 of 40
108
109
Results
The length of the fetus increased (P<0.0001) ~3-fold from day 20 to day 30 of pregnancy
110
(Fig. 1A). Labeling index (a proportion of proliferating cells, based on Ki67 protein detection)
111
did not change significantly (P>0.2) from day 16 to day 30 of pregnancy (Fig. 1B). Overall, LI
112
was 20.7±1.5% in FM, and ranged from 17 to 26%; regression analysis demonstrated a linear
113
decrease (R2 = 0.110; P<0.055; Y = -0.63X + 36.3) from day 16 to day 30 of pregnancy. Ki67,
114
5mC, and SMCA proteins were immunodetected in the FM throughout early pregnancy (Fig. 2A,
115
B and C). Ki67 and 5mC were localized to the cell nuclei (Fig. 2A and B) but SMCA was
116
localized to cytoplasm of blood vessel cells (Fig. 2C).
117
Image analysis demonstrated that positive 5mC staining occupied 10.5±1.0% of cell
118
nuclei in FM (range 9-13%) and significant changes were not observed throughout early
119
pregnancy. However, DNA dot blot analysis demonstrated a ~2-fold decrease (P<0.003) in 5mC
120
expression in FM on days 16-20 compared to days 28-30, and regression analysis demonstrated a
121
cubic decrease (R2 = 0.355; P<0.0003; Y = -12.07+1.89X-0.09X2+0.001X3) throughout early
122
pregnancy (Fig. 3A). Expression of DNMT1 mRNA tended (P<0.11) to increase ~2-fold from
123
day 16 to day 30 (Fig. 3B), and regression analysis demonstrated a linear increase (R2 = 0.173;
124
P<0.002; Y = 0.18+0.03X) throughout early pregnancy. Expression of DNMT3a mRNA
125
increased (P<0.004) ~2-fold from day 16 compared with days 24-30 (Fig. 3C), but DNMT3b
126
mRNA decreased (P<0.0001) ~3-fold from day 16-18 compared with days 20-22 and decreased
127
by 5-fold by day 30 (Fig. 3D) of pregnancy. Regression analysis of mRNA expression for
128
DNMT3a demonstrated a linear increase (R2 = 0.301; P<0.0001; y =– 0.06+0.04x) but for
129
DNMT3b a cubic pattern (R2 = 0.624, P<0.0001; Y = 11.57-0.97X +0.02X2-0.0002X3) of
130
decrease throughout early pregnancy.
6
Page 7 of 40
131
Blood vessels marked with SMCA were detected in FM on days 18 to 30 of pregnancy
132
(Fig.3C). Overall, the number of blood vessels per FM tissue area was 1.7±0.4/10,000 µm2,
133
ranged from 0-7/10,000 µm2, and did not change throughout early pregnancy.
134
Expression of mRNA for factors involved in regulation of angiogenesis including PGF,
135
VEGF, FLT1, KDR, ANGPT1, ANGPT2, ANGPT receptor TEK, FGF2, NOS3, GUCY1B3 and
136
HIF1A (Fig. 4A-H), but not for FGFR2IIIc (data not shown) in FM changed (P<0.0001-0.06)
137
during early pregnancy (Fig. 4A-K). PGF mRNA expression increased (P<0.0001) ~3.5 to 34-
138
fold from days 16-22 to days 24-30 of pregnancy (Fig. 4A). VEGF mRNA expression increased
139
(P<0.0001) ~2-fold on days 28 and 30 compared with days 16-20 (Fig. 4B). FLT1 mRNA
140
expression increased (P<0.0001) ~5 to 50-fold on days 28 and 30 compared with days 16-24
141
(Fig. 4C). KDR mRNA expression was 2 to 11-fold greater (P<0.0001) on days 20-24 than on
142
days 16-18 and 26-30 (Fig. 4D).
143
ANGPT1 mRNA expression was low on days 16-24 of pregnancy and then increased
144
(P<0.001) ~2 to 50-fold on days 26-30 of pregnancy (Fig. 4E). Expression of ANGPT2 mRNA
145
was not detectable on day 16 of pregnancy, but increased (P<0.001) ~3.5 to 5-fold from day 18
146
to days 22-30 of pregnancy (Fig. 4F). TEK mRNA expression increased (P<0.001) ~7 to 9-fold
147
from day 16 to days 20-24, and then decreased on days 26-30 (Fig. 4G).
148
FGF2 mRNA expression increased (P<0.06) ~4 to 5-fold from day 16 to days 20-24, and
149
then decreased on days 26-28 (Fig. 4H), whereas NOS3 mRNA expression increased (P<0.001)
150
~5 to 16-fold from days 16-18 to days 22-30 of pregnancy (Fig. 4I). GUCY1B3 mRNA
151
expression was ~2 to 7-fold greater (P<0.01) on day 18 than on any other day of pregnancy (Fig.
152
4J). HIF1A mRNA expression was ~1 to 2-fold greater (P<0.02) on days 18, 20 and 30 than on
153
days 16 and 24 of pregnancy (Fig. 4K).
7
Page 8 of 40
154
Results of regression analysis demonstrating a pattern of change in mRNA expression for
155
all 12 investigated genes involved in the regulation of angiogenesis are presented in Table 1.
156
Correlation coefficients for mRNA expression of evaluated genes involved in regulation of
157
angiogenesis are presented in Table 2. Expression of mRNA for the majority of these genes was
158
significantly (P<0.0001-0.08) correlated (Table 2).
159
Discussion
160
Early pregnancy is characterized by dramatic uterine and embryonic/fetal tissue growth,
161
differentiation and remodeling, and it is the critical period for establishing a healthy pregnancy.
162
During this critical period, maternal recognition of pregnancy, initial attachment/implantation of
163
FM to uterine epithelium and initiation of placental growth and development take place (Bowen
164
& Burghardt 2000, Spencer et al. 2007, 2008). In addition, most embryonic loss occurs in early
165
pregnancy with rates of pregnancy losses reported as ≥30% in most mammalian species and
166
possibly >50% in humans (Reynolds & Redmer 2001, Miri & Varmuza 2009). Thus,
167
investigation of fetal and maternal placental growth during early pregnancy is needed to establish
168
the mechanisms that contribute to pregnancy maintenance or loss.
169
The present study demonstrated a rapid increase in fetal size, decrease in 5mC expression
170
(as determined by DNA dot blot), and dramatic changes in the mRNA expression in FM of
171
several factors involved in regulation of DNA methylation, angiogenesis and tissue growth
172
during early pregnancy. However, the rates of cellular proliferation were maintained at a high
173
level but not significantly changed. In addition, image analysis did not show any differences in
174
5mC expression throughout pregnancy. The discrepancies between the results of 5mC evaluation
175
by DNA dot blot and by image analyses were likely due to the lower sensitivity of
176
immunohistochemistry and image analysis than dot blot analysis.
8
Page 9 of 40
177
Early embryonic development is tightly regulated and includes control of cell growth,
178
proliferation and differentiation, morphogenesis, and protein synthesis and trafficking (Blomberg
179
et al. 2008, Igwebuike 2009). In the present study, growth of the fetal placental was reflected by
180
rapid increase of embryonic size and very high rates of cellular proliferation in FM. High rates of
181
cell proliferation were also observed in the fetal placenta during early pregnancy in humans and
182
monkeys (Wei et al. 2005, Korgun et al. 2006, Kar et al. 2007). Interestingly, cell proliferation
183
in fetal and maternal placenta obtained after transfer of embryos created in vitro or through
184
parthenogenetic activation was less than in pregnancies after natural breeding in sheep
185
(Borowicz et al. 2009, Grazul-Bilska et al. unpublished). In addition, altered placental cell
186
proliferation or turnover was observed in several pathological conditions including diabetes and
187
trophoblastic diseases at several pregnancy stages in humans (Zhang et al. 2009; Burleigh et al.
188
2004). These data suggest that altered cellular proliferation in fetal placenta is a feature of
189
compromised pregnancies. However, the mechanism of regulation of cell proliferation in FM
190
has not been elucidated and this subject requires additional investigation.
191
Since epigenetic modifications of the genome include methylation of DNA at cytosine
192
residues and histone modifications through methylation catalyzed by DNMTs, we choose to use
193
5mC, and DNMT1, 3a and 3b as markers of global methylation in our study. In the present
194
experiment, expression of these markers was detected in FM, and the pattern of changes differed
195
during early pregnancy. Interestingly, expression of 5mC decreased during early pregnancy
196
indicating demethylation was occurring in the FM. However, in our study, only one of the
197
enzymes catalyzing methylation and/or demethylation, DNMT3b (Ooi & Bestror, 2008) had
198
decreased mRNA expression; whereas expression of DNMT3a mRNA increased during early
199
pregnancy. Therefore, we hypothesize that a specific balance exists between expression and/or
9
Page 10 of 40
200
function of DNMTs, and likely other enzymes involved in methylation and/or demethylation
201
(e.g., DNA glycosylase; Zhu 2009) are present in the tissue to further regulate methylation
202
processes. It is believed that genomic imprinting, regulated by methylation mechanisms, may
203
play a critical role in placental biology (Maccani & Marsit 2009, Coan et al. 2005, Miri &
204
Varmuza 2009). In fact, alterations in imprinting have been linked to placental pathologies
205
(Tycko 2006, Wagschal & Feil 2006). Therefore, correction of the DNA methylation may offer
206
new strategies for preventing pregnancy complications. However, more research is required to
207
gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of imprinting and methylation in the placenta in
208
order to establish a strategy for successful pregnancy outcomes.
209
Very few studies have evaluated global methylation during early placental development,
210
but several studies investigated methylation in the placenta at specific time points. For human
211
placenta, it has been demonstrated that methylation levels measured by 5mC content increased in
212
a gestational stage-dependent manner (Fuke et al. 2004), DNA methylation measured by the
213
mean CpG methylation status of genes probed in a microarray analysis was decreased after in-
214
vitro vs. in-vivo conception (Katari et al. 2009), and that the decrease in X chromosome-linked
215
placental methylation was greater in pregnancies carrying female than male babies Cotton et al.
216
(2009). Studies of embryonic and/or extraembryonic tissues during mouse development,
217
demonstrated that global methylation and demethylation and expression of DNMT were stage-
218
and tissue-specific (Monk et al. 1987, Trasler et al. 1996, Watanabe et al. 2002). For cows,
219
global methylation in the fetal placenta on day 80 was similar for pregnancies established after
220
transfer of embryos created through artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization or somatic cell
221
nuclear transfer (Hiendleder et al. 2004). In our study, significant changes in global methylation,
222
measured by 5mC and DNMTs mRNA expression, indicate that the pattern of methylation in FM
10
Page 11 of 40
223
is changing throughout early pregnancy. Since data concerning the methylation process in
224
developing and growing placenta are extremely limited, further studies should be undertaken to
225
study this process in detail.
226
In the present study, blood vessels marked with SMCA were detected in FM as early as
227
on day 18 of pregnancy. For human placenta, it has been demonstrated that angiogenesis,
228
manifested by vascular tube formation, and presence of haemangiogenic cell cords, was evident
229
21-27 days post conception, on day 32 post conception erythrocytes were observed within blood
230
vessels lumen, and between days 35-42 the networks of cords were heavily connected with each
231
other without any interruption (Demir et al. 1989, 2004, Torry et al. 2004, Zygmunt et al. 2003,
232
Arroyo & Winn 2008, Burton et al. 2009, van Oppenraaij et al. 2009). Thus, vasculogenesis is
233
initiated very early in pregnancy in order to support dramatic fetal growth.
234
Fetal membrane growth and vascular development has to be tightly regulated to
235
coordinate development of the fetal and maternal placenta and embryonic tissues. Therefore,
236
vasculogenesis, angiogenesis and tissue growth within fetal placenta are regulated by numerous
237
growth factors (Patan 2000, Zygmunt et al. 2003, Demir et al. 2007, Herr et al. 2008, Burton et
238
al. 2009). In the present study, increased mRNA expression of several factors and their receptors
239
involved in the regulation of angiogenesis and growth in FM was observed as pregnancy
240
progressed. In fact, changes in mRNA expression of several growth/angiogenic factors and/or
241
their receptors including PGF, FLT1, ANGPT1, TEK, NOS3 and HIF1A in FM paralleled
242
expression of these factors in maternal placenta in sheep (Grazul-Bilska et al. 2010), indicating a
243
similar role of these factors in the regulation of fetal and maternal placental growth and function.
244
245
Although protein and/or mRNA expression of VEGF, PGF and receptors, and/or FGF2
and receptor were detected in extraembryonic tissues at specific stages of early pregnancy in
11
Page 12 of 40
246
monkeys, humans and cows (Vuorela et al. 1997, Ghosh et al. 2000, Hildebrandt et al. 2001,
247
Wang et al. 2003, Demir et al. 2004, Wei et al. 2004, Pfarrer et al. 2006) the changes during
248
placental development have not been evaluated for these or other species. In the present study,
249
dramatic changes of expression of mRNA for members of the VEGF and ANGPT systems were
250
observed. Since during early pregnancy first vasculogenesis and then angiogenesis are initiated,
251
it seems that high expression of VEGF and ANGPT systems is required to regulate these
252
processes. In fact, members of the VEGF family and ANGPTs are recognized as the major
253
regulators of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in the placenta (Zygmunt et al. 2003, Reynolds et
254
al. 2002, 2006, Demir et al. 2007, Seval et al. 2008). In the primate placenta, protein and/or
255
mRNA expression of VEGF, FLT1, KDR, ANGPT1, ANGPT2 and/or receptor TEK were
256
detected during early pregnancy (Demir et al. 2004, Demir 2009, Wei et al. 2004, Seval et al.
257
2008). These factors appeared to be spatio- and temporary-regulated during early pregnancy in
258
primates (Demir et al. 2004, Wei et al. 2004, Kayisli et al. 2006, Seval et al. 2008). The
259
increased expression of several angiogenic factors during early pregnancy indicates that these
260
factors are involved in regulation of vascular development, remodeling and trophoblast function.
261
However, functional studies should be undertaken to verify the specific roles of VEGF and
262
ANGPT systems in placental growth and function.
263
Expression of mRNA for FGF2 but not FGFR2IIIc in FM increased during early
264
pregnancy in this study. Although expression of FGF2 and its receptor was detected in fetal
265
placenta in sheep and other species (Wei et al. 2004, Liu et al. 2005, Kaufman et al. 2004), little
266
is known about the specific role of FGF system in early placental development. However, it has
267
been demonstrated that FGFs stimulate differentiation of the embryonic germ layers, and it has
268
been suggested that the FGF system is involved in the regulation of growth and differentiation of
12
Page 13 of 40
269
vascular and non-vascular compartments of the placenta (Reynolds et al. 2002). In addition,
270
FGF2 is a potent stimulator of cell proliferation (Reynolds & Redmer 2001); therefore, it is
271
reasonable to postulate that FGF2 and its receptor are involved in the regulation of cell
272
proliferation in FM.
273
Expression of NOS3 mRNA gradually increased from day 16 to 22, and remained at a
274
similar level until day 30, but the NOS3 receptor GUCY1B3 mRNA expression was enhanced
275
only on day 18 of pregnancy in FM in our study. Endothelial NOS is expressed in fetal placenta
276
from early pregnancy in several species (Ariel et al. 1998, Al-Hijji et al. 2003, Sladek et al.
277
1997, Gagioti et al. 2000). NOS are recognized as regulators of implantation and pregnancy
278
maintenance, and angiogenesis in the fetal and maternal placenta (Maul et al. 2003; Gagioti et al.
279
2000), however the mechanism of NOS effects on these processes remains to be elucidated.
280
Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that NOS3 expression is regulated by FGF2 and VEGF in
281
ovine placental artery endothelial cells (Mata-Greenwood et al. 2008). These interactions seem
282
to be reflected in our study by significant correlations between the mRNA expression of NOS3
283
and expression of members of the VEGF and FGF2 systems.
284
An increased HIF1A mRNA expression in FM was observed on days 18-20 of pregnancy
285
in our study. This transient high expression of HIF1A mRNA may be associated with low
286
oxygen levels observed during early pregnancy in several species (Rodesch et al. 1992,
287
Rajakumar & Conrad 2000, Fryer & Simon 2006, Ietta et al. 2006, Pringle et al. 2007). It seems
288
that HIF1A expression is decreasing after delivery of oxygen is well established through
289
developing blood vessel network. A decrease of HIF1A mRNA expression from day 50 to the
290
end of pregnancy in fetal placenta was observed in sheep (Borowicz et al. 2007). It has been
291
clearly demonstrated using the knockout and other models that HIF activity is necessary for
13
Page 14 of 40
292
placental development, since HIF1A is involved in the regulation of placental morphogenesis,
293
cell migration, angiogenesis, erythropoesis and cell metabolism, and is critical for adaptive
294
responses to hypoxia (Cowden Dahl et al. 2005, Fryer & Simon 2006). In fact, HIF1A
295
expression is altered in preeclampsia and IUGR placentas (Rajkumar et al. 2007; Zamudio et al.
296
2007). Therefore, HIF1A may be used as a marker of compromised pregnancies.
297
In summary, this study demonstrates a dramatic increase in fetal size, high cellular
298
proliferation rates, a decrease in 5mC expression (as determined by DNA dot blot), a lack of
299
changes in vascularization measured as the number of blood vessels per tissue area, but
300
significant changes in mRNA expression of factors involved in the regulation of methylation,
301
angiogenesis and tissue growth in FM during early pregnancy. Positive correlations among
302
mRNA expression of several growth/angiogenic factors and/or their receptors indicate
303
interactions among these factors in the regulation of development of fetal placenta. However,
304
since we have evaluated expression for the factors mentioned above at the mRNA level only,
305
additional studies should be undertaken to determine the pattern of protein expression and its
306
relation to mRNA expression in order to better understand the process of placental growth and
307
function. This description of cellular and molecular changes in FM during early pregnancy will
308
provide a foundation for determining whether and how placental development is altered in
309
compromised pregnancies. Furthermore, it will help to establish a baseline that can be used to
310
design therapeutic treatments to restore normal fetal development in compromised pregnancies.
311
Material and Methods
312
Animals
313
The NDSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved all animal
314
procedures in this study. Gravid uteri were obtained from crossbred Western Range (primarily
14
Page 15 of 40
315
Rambouillet, Targhee, and Columbia) ewes (n=5 to 8 per day) on days 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28,
316
and 30 after mating (day of mating=day 0). At tissue collection for immunohistochemical
317
staining, specimen pins were inserted completely through the uterus and FM at the level of the
318
external intercornual bifurcation to maintain specimen morphology; cross sections of the entire
319
gravid uterus (approximately 0.5-cm thick) were obtained using a Stadie-Riggs microtome knife
320
followed by immersion in formalin or Carnoy’s solution and embedding in paraffin. For total
321
cellular RNA extraction, chorioallantoic FM were dissected from the area close to the embryo,
322
snap-frozen, and stored at -70 C. On days 20-30 of pregnancy, fetuses were separated from fetal
323
membranes and crown-rump length of each fetus was measured. The length of fetuses on days 16
324
and 18 was not determined due to the small fetal size (<2 mm) and tissue transparency.
325
Immunohistochemistry
326
Immunohistochemical procedures were used as described before (Grazul-Bilska et al.
327
2010). Paraffin-embedded uterine tissues containing FM were sectioned at 4 µm and mounted
328
onto slides. Sections were rinsed several times in PBS containing Triton-X100 (0.3%, v/v) and
329
then were treated for 20 min with blocking buffer [PBS containing normal horse serum (2%,
330
vol/vol)] followed by incubation with specific primary antibody for Ki67 (a marker of
331
proliferating cells; 1:500; mouse monoclonal; Vector Laboratories, Burlingame, CA, USA), 5mC
332
(a marker of global DNA methylation; 1:500; mouse monoclonal; Eurogentec North America,
333
San Diego, CA, USA), or SMCA (a marker of pericytes and smooth muscle cells and thus blood
334
vessels; 1:150; mouse monoclonal; Oncogene Research Products; San Diego, CA, USA)
335
overnight at 4˚ C. Primary antibodies were detected by using secondary anti-mouse antibody
336
coupled to peroxidase (ImPress Kit; Vector Laboratories). The sections were then counterstained
337
with nuclear fast red (Sigma, St. Lois, MO, USA) to visualize cell nuclei. Control sections were
15
Page 16 of 40
338
incubated with normal mouse IgG (4 µg/mL) in place of primary antibody. Fetal placental cell
339
types were not identified in this study due to methodological difficulties, such as a lack of
340
specific markers for these cell types in sheep or absence of some cell types in individual tissue
341
slides; thus we used the entire fetal placenta for immunohistological and other evaluations, which
342
of course has some limitations that the reader should keep in mind.
343
Image analysis
344
For each tissue section, images were taken at 400x (Ki67 staining), 600x (5mC staining) or
345
200x (SMCA staining) magnification, using an Eclipse E600 Nikon microscope and digital
346
camera for 5-40 randomly chosen fields (0.025 mm2 per field) from areas containing FM. To
347
determine LI, the percentage of 5mC positive staining in cell nucleus or the number of blood
348
vessels per FM tissue area, an image analysis system (Image-Pro Plus, Media Cybernetics, Inc.,
349
Bethesda , MD, USA) was used as described previously (Grazul-Bilska et al. 2010). The LI was
350
calculated as the percentage (%) of proliferating Ki67-positive cells out of the total number of
351
cells within an FM tissue area.
352
DNA dot blot assay
353
DNA dot-blot analysis of 5mC was based on modifications of previously described
354
methods (Tao et al. 2004, Park et al. 2005). DNA was isolated from FM tissues homogenized in
355
Tri-Reagent (Molecular Research Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA). Purified DNA (0.5 µg) was
356
denatured by adding NaOH and EDTA to final concentrations of 0.4 N NaOH and 10 mM
357
EDTA, heated to 100oC for 10 min, followed by cooling to 4oC, and then neutralized with an
358
equal volume of cold (4oC) 2 M ammonium acetate. Denatured DNA was spotted onto Ambion
359
BrightStar-Plus nylon membrane (Ambion/Applied Biosystems, Austin, TX, USA) using the
360
BRL HYBRI-DOT Manifold (Bethesda Research Laboratories, Gaithersburg, MD, USA). The
16
Page 17 of 40
361
DNA was cross-linked to the membrane for 2 min with the CL-1000 Ultraviolet Crosslinker
362
(UVP, Upland, CA, USA) and then dried. After wetting in dH2O, the membrane was blocked
363
with 5% skim milk in phosphate-buffered saline + 0.1% Tween 20 (PBST) by rocking for 3 h at
364
room temperature. The membrane was probed with a 1:2000 dilution in 2% milk-PBST of
365
monoclonal mouse antibody against 5mC (Eurogentec North America) by rocking at 4oC
366
overnight. The membrane was washed three times for 10 min each in PBST before incubation
367
with a 1:5000 dilution of HRP-conjugated anti-mouse secondary antibody in 2% milk-PBST
368
with rocking for 1 h at room temperature. After three washes in PBST, the membrane was
369
incubated with ECL Plus Western blotting reagent (GE Healthcare; Piscataway, NJ, USA) and
370
the chemiluminescense of 5mC was detected and quantified using the AlphaEaseFC imager
371
(Alpha Innotech, San Leandro, CA, USA). After detection of 5mC, the membrane was stained
372
with 0.02% methylene blue for DNA quantification and the relative dot intensity was measured
373
with the AlphaEaseFC imager. Each sample was normalized to its DNA concentration by
374
dividing the 5mC signal intensity of the sample by the dot intensity of methylene blue.
375
Quantitative Real-Time RT-PCR
376
All procedures for determining the expression of mRNA of several genes in ovine tissues
377
by RT-PCR have been reported previously (Redmer et al. 2005, Johnson et al. 2006, Grazul-
378
Bilska et al. 2010). Briefly, snap-frozen FM tissues were homogenized in Tri-Reagent
379
(Molecular Research Center) according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The quality and
380
quantity of total RNA were determined via capillary electrophoresis using the Agilent 2100
381
Bioanalyzer (Agilent Technologies, Wilmington, DE, USA). Real-time RT-PCR reagents,
382
probes, and primers were purchased from and used as recommended by Applied Biosystems
383
(Foster City, CA, USA). For each sample, 30 ng total RNA was reverse transcribed in triplicate
17
Page 18 of 40
384
20-µl reactions using random hexamers. Sequence-specific Taqman probes and primers were
385
designed using the Primer Express Software from Applied Biosystems, and sequences for 12
386
factors involved in the regulation of angiogenesis have been published before (Redmer et al.
387
2005, Johnson et al. 2006, Grazul-Bilska et al. 2010). The sequences of probes and primers for
388
DNMT1, 3a and 3b are presented in Table 3. The ABI PRISM 7000 was used for detection of
389
sequences amplified at 60oC typically for 40 or 45 cycles (Applied Biosystems). Quantification
390
was determined from a relative standard curve of dilutions of the cDNA generated from tcRNA
391
pooled from placentomes collected on day 130 of pregnancy. Expression of each gene was
392
normalized to expression of 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) in a multiplex reaction using the
393
human 18S pre-developed assay reagent (PDAR) from Applied Biosystems. The PDAR
394
solution, which is primer limited and contains a VIC- labeled probe, was further adjusted by
395
using one-fourth the normal amount, so that it would not interfere with amplification of the
396
FAM-labeled gene of interest. Standard curves were also generated with the multiplex solution,
397
and the quantity of 18S rRNA and the gene of interest were determined using each specific
398
standard curve. The concentrations of mRNA were then normalized to 18S rRNA by dividing
399
each of the mRNA values by their corresponding 18S rRNA value (Grazul-Bilska et al., 2010).
400
Statistical Analysis
401
Data were analyzed using the general linear models (GLM) procedure of SAS and
402
presented as means ± SEM with the main effect of day of pregnancy (SAS Institute 2010).
403
When the F-test was significant (P<0.05), differences between specific means were evaluated by
404
using the least significant differences test (Kirk 1982). The SAS procedure PROC REG was
405
used for regression analysis and PROC CORR was used to calculate simple linear correlations
406
between specific variables.
18
Page 19 of 40
407
408
Declaration of interest
409
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the
410
impartiality of the research reported.
411
412
Funding
413
This project was supported by USDA grant (2007-01215) to LPR and ATGB, NIH grant
414
(HL64141) to LPR and DAR, ND EPSCoR AURA grant to ATGB and MAM, ND Space Grant
415
Fellowship Program award to MAM, and by NIH grant (P20 RR016741) from the INBRE
416
program of the NCRR, NIH to ATGB and LPR.
417
418
Acknowledgements:
419
The authors would like to thank Dr. Eric Berg, Dr. Kimberly Vonnahme, Ms. Tammi Neville,
420
Mr. James D. Kirsch, Mr. Kim C. Kraft, Mr. Robert Weigl, Mr. Tim Johnson (deceased), Mr.
421
Terry Skunberg and other members of our laboratories and department for their assistance.
422
423
References
424
Al-Hijji J, Andolf E, Laurini R & Batra S 2003 Nitric oxide synthase activity in human
425
trophoblast, term placenta and pregnant myometrium. Reproductive Biology and
426
Endocrinology 1 51.
427
Ariel I, Hochberg A & Shochina M 1998 Endothelial nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity in
428
early gestation and in trophoblastic disease. Journal of Clinical Pathology 51 427-431.
19
Page 20 of 40
429
Arroyo JA & Winn VD 2008 Vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in the IUGR placenta. Seminars
in Perinatology 32 172-177.
430
431
432
433
434
435
436
Beck S & Rakyan VK 2008 The methylome: approaches for global DNA methylation profiling.
Trends in Genetics 24 231-237.
Bird A 2002 DNA methylation patterns and epigenetic memory. Genes and Development 16 621.
Blankenship TN & King BF 1994 Developmental expression of Ki-67 antigen and proliferating
cell nuclear antigen in macaque placentas. Developmental Dynamics 201 324-333.
437
Blomberg L, Hashizume K & Viebahn C 2008 Blastocyst elongation, trophoblastic
438
differentiation, and embryonic pattern formation. Reproduction 135 181-195.
439
Boos A, Kohtes J, Janssen V, Mülling C, Stelljes A, Zerbe H, Hässig M & Thole HH 2006
440
Pregnancy effects on distribution of progesterone receptors, oestrogen receptor alpha,
441
glucocorticoid receptors, Ki-67 antigen and apoptosis in the bovine interplacentomal uterine
442
wall and foetal membranes. Animal Reproduction Sciences 91 55-76.
443
Borowicz PP, Arnold DR, Johnson ML, Grazul-Bilska AT, Redmer DA & Reynolds LP
444
2007 Placental growth throughout the last two-thirds of pregnancy in sheep: vascular
445
development and angiogenic factor expression. Biology of Reproduction 76 259-267.
446
Borowicz PP, Reynolds LP, Coupe LR, Ptak G, Loi P, Scapolo P, Cuomo A, Palmieri C &
447
Grazul-Bilska AT 2009 Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have a dramatic effect
448
on cell proliferation in ovine fetal membranes (FM) during early pregnancy. Abstracts from
449
the American Society of Animal Sciences Annual Meeting T133 239.
450
451
Bowen JA & Burghardt RC. Cellular mechanisms of implantation in domestic farm animals.
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 2000 Apr;11(2):93-104.
20
Page 21 of 40
452
Burleigh DW, Stewart K, Grindle KM, Kay HH & Golos TG 2004 Influence of maternal
453
diabetes on placental fibroblast growth factor-2 expression, proliferation, and apoptosis.
454
Journal of the Society for Gynecological Investigation 11 36-41.
455
456
457
458
459
Burton GJ, Charnock-Jones DS & Jauniaux E 2009 Regulation of vascular growth and
function in human placenta. Reproduction 138 895-902.
Coan PM, Burton GJ & Ferguson-Smith AC 2005 Imprinted genes in the placenta--a review.
Placenta 26 S10-20.
Correia-da-Silva G, Bell SC, Pringle JH & Teixeira NA 2004 Patterns of uterine cellular
460
proliferation and apoptosis in the implantation site of the rat during pregnancy. Placenta. 25
461
538-547.
462
Cotton AM, Avila L, Penaherrera MS, Affleck JG, Robinson WP & Brown CJ 2009
463
Inactive X chromosome-specific reduction in placental DNA methylation. Human
464
Molecular Genetics 18 3544-3552.
465
Cowden Dahl KD, Fryer BH, Mack FA, Compernolle V, Maltepe E, Adelman DM,
466
Carmeliet P & Simon MC 2005 Hypoxia-inducible factors 1alpha and 2alpha regulate
467
trophoblast differentiation. Molecular and Cell Biology 25 10479-10491.
468
Demir R 2009 Expression of VEGF receptors VEGF-1 and VEGF-2, angiopoietin receprots Tie-
469
1 and Tie-2 in chorionic villi three during early gestation. Folia Histochemica and
470
Cytobiologica 47 435-445.
471
472
473
474
Demir R, Kaufmann P, Castellucci M, Erbengi T & Kotowski A 1989 Fetal vasculogenesis
and angiogenesis in human placental villi. Acta Anatomica (Basel) 136 190-203.
Demir R, Kayisli UA, Seval Y, Celik-Ozenci C, Korgun ET, Demir-Weusten AY &
Huppertz B 2004 Sequential expression of VEGF and its receptors in human placental villi
21
Page 22 of 40
475
during very early pregnancy: differences between placental vasculogenesis and
476
angiogenesis. Placenta. 25 560-572.
477
478
479
480
481
482
Demir R, Seval Y & Huppertz B 2007 Vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in the early human
placenta. Acta Histochemica 109 257-265.
Faber JJ & Thornburg KL 1983 Placental Physiology. Structure and Function of
Fetomaternal Enchange.
Flamme I, Frölich T & Risau W 1997 Molecular mechanisms of vasculogenesis and
embryonic angiogenesis. Journal of Cell Physiology 173 206-210.
483
Fryer BH & Simon MC 2006 Hypoxia, HIF and the placenta. Cell Cycle 5 495-498.
484
Fuke C, Shimabukuro M, Petronis A, Sugimoto J, Oda T, Miura K, Miyazaki T, Ogura C,
485
Okazaki Y & Jinno Y 2004 Age related changes in 5-methylcytosine content in human
486
peripheral leukocytes and placentas: an HPLC-based study. Annals of Human Genetics 68
487
196-204.
488
489
Gagioti S, Scavone C & Bevilacqua E 2000 Participation of the mouse implanting trophoblast
in nitric oxide production during pregnancy. Biology of Reproduction 62 260-268.
490
Ghosh D, Sharkey AM, Charnock-Jones DS, Dhawan L, Dhara S, Smith SK & Sengupta J
491
2000 Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and placental growth factor
492
(PlGF) in conceptus and endometrium during implantation in the rhesus monkey. Molecular
493
Human Reproduction 6 935-941.
494
495
Gopalakrishnan S, Van Emburgh BO & Robertson KD 2008 DNA methylation in
development and human disease. Mutation Research 647 30-38.
496
Grazul-Bilska AT, Borowicz PP, Johnson ML, Minten MA, Bilski JJ, Wroblewski R,
497
Redmer DA & Reynolds LP 2010 Placental development during early pregnancy in
22
Page 23 of 40
498
sheep: vascular growth and expression of angiogenic factors in maternal placenta.
499
Reproduction 140 165-174.
500
501
502
Herr F, Baal N & Zygmunt M 2009 Studies of placental vasculogenesis: a way to understand
pregnancy pathology? Zeitschrift fur Geburtshilfe Neonatologie 213 96-100.
Hiendleder S, Mund C, Reichenbach HD, Wenigerkind H, Brem G, Zakhartchenko V,
503
Lyko F & Wolf E 2004 Tissue-specific elevated genomic cytosine methylation levels are
504
associated with an overgrowth phenotype of bovine fetuses derived by in vitro techniques.
505
Biology of Reproduction 71 217-223.
506
Hildebrandt VA, Babischkin JS, Koos RD, Pepe GJ & Albrecht ED 2001 Developmental
507
regulation of vascular endothelial growth/permeability factor messenger ribonucleic acid
508
levels in and vascularization of the villous placenta during baboon pregnancy.
509
Endocrinology 142 2050-2057.
510
511
512
Huppertz B & Peeters LL 2005 Vascular biology in implantation and placentation.
Angiogenesis 8 157-167.
Ietta F, Wu Y, Winter J, Xu J, Wang J, Post M & Caniggia I 2006 Dynamic HIF1A
513
regulation during human placental development. Biology of Reproduction 75 112-121.
514
Igwebuike UM 2009 A review of uterine structural modifications that influence conceptus
515
516
517
518
implantation and development in sheep and goats. Animal Reproduction Sciences 112 1-7.
Jansson T & Powell TL 2007 Role of the placenta in fetal programming: underlying
mechanisms and potential interventional approaches. Clinical Science (Lond) 113 1-13.
Johnson ML, Grazul-Bilska AT, Redmer DA & Reynolds LP 2006 Effects of estradiol-17ß
519
on expression of mRNA for seven angiogenic factors and their receptors in the endometrium
520
of ovariectomized (OVX) ewes. Endocrine 30 333-342.
23
Page 24 of 40
521
Kaufmann P, Mayhew TM & Charnock-Jones DS 2004 Aspects of human fetoplacental
522
vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. II. Changes during normal pregnancy. Placenta 25 114-
523
126.
524
Kar M, Ghosh D & Sengupta J 2007 Histochemical and morphological examination of
525
proliferation and apoptosis in human first trimester villous trophoblast. Human
526
Reproduction 22 2814-2823.
527
Katari S, Turan N, Bibikova M, Erinle O, Chalian R, Foster M, Gaughan JP, Coutifaris C
528
& Sapienza C 2009 DNA methylation and gene expression differences in children
529
conceived in vitro or in vivo. Human Molecular Genetics 18 3769-3778.
530
Kayisli UA, Cayli S, Seval Y, Tertemiz F, Huppertz B & Demir R 2006 Spatial and temporal
531
distribution of Tie-1 and Tie-2 during very early development of the human placenta.
532
Placenta 27 648-659.
533
534
535
536
Kim JK, Samaranayake M & Pradhan S 2009 Epigenetic mechanisms in mammals. Cellular
and Molecular Life Sciences 66 596-612.
Kirk RE 1982 Experimental Design: Procedures for the Behavioral Sciences, 2 edn. Belmont,
CA: Brooks/Cole.
537
Kokalj-Vokac N, Zagorac A, Pristovnik M, Bourgeois CA & Dutrillaux B 1998 DNA
538
methylation of the extraembryonic tissues: an in situ study on human metaphase
539
chromosomes. Chromosome Research 6 161-166.
540
Korgun ET, Celik-Ozenci C, Acar N, Cayli S, Desoye G & Demir R 2006 Location of cell
541
cycle regulators cyclin B1, cyclin A, PCNA, Ki67 and cell cycle inhibitors p21, p27 and p57
542
in human first trimester placenta and deciduas. Histochemistry and Cell Biology 125 615-
543
624.
24
Page 25 of 40
544
Liu YX, Gao F, Wei P, Chen XL, Gao HJ, Zou RJ, Siao LJ, Xu FH, Feng Q, Liu K & Hu
545
ZY 2005 Involvement of molecules related to angiogenesis, proteolysis and apoptosis in
546
implantation in rhesus monkey and mouse. Contraception 71 249-262.
547
548
Maccani MA & Marsit CJ 2009 Epigenetics in the placenta. American Journal of Reproductive
Immunology 62 78-89.
549
Mata-Greenwood E, Liao WX, Zheng J & Chen DB 2008 Differential activation of multiple
550
signalling pathways dictates eNOS upregulation by FGF2 but not VEGF in placental artery
551
endothelial cells. Placenta 29 708-717.
552
553
554
555
556
Maul H, Longo M, Saade GR & Garfield RE 2003 Nitric oxide and its role during pregnancy:
from ovulation to delivery. Current Pharmacological Design 9 359-380.
Miri K & Varmuza S 2009 Imprinting and extraembryonic tissues-mom takes control.
International Reviews on Cell and Molecular Biology 276 215-262.
Monk M, Boubelik M & Lehnert S 1987 Temporal and regional changes in DNA methylation
557
in the embryonic, extraembryonic and germ cell lineages during mouse embryo
558
development. Development 99 371-382.
559
560
Morriss FH, Jr & Boyd RH 1988 Placental transport. The Physiology of Reproduction 20432083.
561
Murphy VE, Smith R, Giles WB & Clifton VL 2006 Endocrine regulation of human fetal
562
growth: the role of the mother, placenta, and fetus. Endocrine Reviews 27 141-69.
563
564
565
Myatt L 2006 Placental adaptive responses and fetal programming. Journal of Physiology 572
25-30.
Needham J 1934 A History of Embryology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.
25
Page 26 of 40
566
567
568
Ooi SK & Bestor TH 2008 The colorful history of active DNA demethylation. Cell 133 11451148.
Park IY, Sohn BH, Choo JH, Joe CO, Seong JK, Lee YI & Chung JH 2005 Deregulation of
569
DNA methyltransferases and loss of parental methylation at the insulin-like growth factor II
570
(Igf2)/H19 loci in p53 knockout mice prior to tumor development. Journal of Cell
571
Biochemistry 94 585-96.
572
573
574
Patan S 2000 Vasculogenesis and angiogenesis as mechanisms of vascular network formation,
growth and remodeling. Journal of Neurooncology 50 1-15.
Pfarrer CD, Ruziwa SD, Winther H, Callesen H, Leiser R, Schams D & Dantzer V 2006
575
Localization of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors VEGFR-1 and
576
VEGFR-2 in bovine placentomes from implantation until term. Placenta 27 889-898.
577
Pringle KG, Kind KL, Thompson JG & Roberts CT 2007 Complex interactions between
578
hypoxia inducible factors, insulin-like growth factor-II and oxygen in early murine
579
trophoblasts. Placenta 28 1147-1157.
580
581
582
Rajakumar A & Conrad KP 2000 Expression, ontogeny, and regulation of hypoxia-inducible
transcription factors in the human placenta. Biology of Reproduction 63 559-569.
Rajakumar A, Jeyabalan A, Markovic N, Ness R, Gilmour C & Conrad KP 2007 Placental
583
HIF-1 alpha, HIF-2 alpha, membrane and soluble VEGF receptor-1 proteins are not
584
increased in normotensive pregnancies complicated by late-onset intrauterine growth
585
restriction. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative
586
Physiology 293 R766-74.
587
Ramsey EM 1982 The placenta, human and animal. Praeger Publishers, New York, USA.
588
Redmer DA, Aitken RP, Milne JS, Reynolds LP & Wallace JM 2005 Influence of maternal
26
Page 27 of 40
589
nutrition on messenger RNA expression of placental angiogenic factors and their receptors
590
at midgestation in adolescent sheep. Biology of Reproduction 72 1004-1009.
591
592
593
Reik W, Dean W & Walter J 2001 Epigenetic reprogramming in mammalian development.
Science 293 1089-1093.
Reik W, Constância M, Fowden A, Anderson N, Dean W, Ferguson-Smith A, Tycko B &
594
Sibley C 2003 Regulation of supply and demand for maternal nutrients in mammals by
595
imprinted genes. Journal of Physiology 547 35-44.
596
Reynolds LP, Borowicz PP, Caton JS, Vonnahme KA, Luther JS, Buchanan DS, Hafez SA,
597
Grazul-Bilska AT & Redmer DA 2010 Utero-placental vascular development and
598
placental function: An update. International Journal of Developmental Biology 54 355-366.
599
Reynolds LP, Caton JS, Redmer DA, Grazul-Bilska AT, Vonnahme KA, Borowicz PP,
600
Luther JS, Wallace JM, Wu G & Spencer TE 2006 Evidence for altered placental blood
601
flow and vascularity in compromised pregnancies. Journal of Physiology 572 51-58.
602
Reynolds LP, Grazul-Bilska AT & Redmer DA 2002 Angiogenesis in the female reproductive
603
organs: pathological implications. International Journal of Experimental Pathology 83 151-
604
163.
605
606
607
608
609
Reynolds LP & Redmer DA 2001 Angiogenesis in the placenta. Biology of Reproduction 64
1033-1040.
Rodesch F, Simon P, Donner C & Jauniaux E 1992 Oxygen measurements in endometrial and
trophoblastic tissues during early pregnancy. Obstetrics and Gynecology 80 283-285.
Ross JP, Suetake I, Tajima S, Molloy PL 2010 Recombinant mammalian DNA
610
methyltransferase activity on model transcriptional gene silencing short RNA:DNA
611
heteroduplex substrates. Biochemistry Journal [Epub ahead of print]
27
Page 28 of 40
612
613
614
SAS Institute 2010 SAS:User’s Guide, Statistics 5 edn. Cary, NC: Statistical Analysis System
Institute.
Seval Y, Sati L, Celik-Ozenci C, Taskin O & Demir R 2008 The distribution of angiopoietin-
615
1, angiopoietin-2 and their receptors tie-1 and tie-2 in the very early human placenta.
616
Placenta 29 809-815.
617
618
Sladek SM, Magness RR & Conrad KP 1997 Nitric oxide and pregnancy. American Journal of
Physiology 272 R441-63.
619
Spencer TE, Johnson GA, Bazer FW, Burghardt RC & Palmarini M 2007 Pregnancy
620
recognition and conceptus implantation in domestic ruminants: roles of progesterone,
621
interferons and endogenous retroviruses. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 19 65-78.
622
Spencer TE, Sandra O & Wolf E 2008 Genes involved in conceptus-endometrial interactions
623
in ruminants: insights from reductionism and thoughts on holistic approaches. Reproduction
624
135 165-179.
625
Tao L, Li Y, Kramer PM, Wang W & Pereira MA 2004. Hypomethylation of DNA and the
626
insulin-like growth factor-II gene in dichloroacetic and trichloroacetic acid-promoted mouse
627
liver tumors. Toxicology 196 127-36.
628
629
630
631
632
633
Torry DS, Hinrichs M & Torry RJ 2004 Determinants of placental vascularity. American
Journal of Reproductive Immunology 51 257-268.
Trasler JM, Trasler DG, Bestor TH, Li E & Ghibu F 1996 DNA methyltransferase in normal
and Dnmtn/Dnmtn mouse embryos. Developmental Dynamics 206 239-247.
Tycko B 2006 Imprinted genes in placental growth and obstetric disorders. Cytogenetic Genome
Research 113 271-278.
28
Page 29 of 40
634
van Oppenraaij RH, Koning AH, Lisman BA, Boer K, van den Hoff MJ, van der Spek PJ,
635
Steegers EA & Exalto N 2009 Vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in the first trimester
636
human placenta: an innovative 3D study using an immersive Virtual Reality system.
637
Placenta 30 220-222.
638
Vuorela P, Hatva E, Lymboussaki A, Kaipainen A, Joukov V, Persico MG, Alitalo K &
639
Halmesmäki E 1997 Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and placenta growth
640
factor in human placenta. Biology of Reproduction 56 489-494.
641
642
643
Wagschal A & Feil R 2006 Genomic imprinting in the placenta. Cytogenetic Genome Research
113 90-98.
Wagschal A, Sutherland HG, Woodfine K, Henckel A, Chebli K, Schulz R, Oakey RJ,
644
Bickmore WA & Feil R 2008 G9a histone methyltransferase contributes to imprinting in
645
the mouse placenta. Molecular and Cellular Biology 28 1104-1113.
646
Wang H, Li Q, Lin H, Yu X, Qian D, Dai J, Duan E & Zhu C 2003 Expression of vascular
647
endothelial growth factor and its receptors in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta)
648
endometrium and placenta during early pregnancy. Molecular Reproduction and
649
Development 65 123-131.
650
Watanabe D, Suetake I, Tada T & Tajima S 2002 Stage- and cell-specific expression of
651
Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b during embryogenesis. Mechanisms of Development 118 187-190.
652
Wei P, Jin X, Zhang XS, Hu ZY, Han CS & Liu YX 2005 Expression of Bcl-2 and p53 at the
653
654
655
fetal-maternal interface of rhesus monkey. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 3 4.
Wei P, Yu FQ, Chen XL, Tao SX, Han CS & Liu YX 2004 VEGF, bFGF and their receptors
at the fetal-maternal interface of the rhesus monkey. Placenta.25 184-196.
29
Page 30 of 40
656
657
Wilson AS, Power BE & Molloy PL 2007 DNA hypomethylation and human diseases.
Biochimical and Biophysical Acta 1775 138-162.
658
Zamudio S, Wu Y, Ietta F, Rolfo A, Cross A, Wheeler T, Post M, Illsley NP & Caniggia I
659
2007 Human placental hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha expression correlates with clinical
660
outcomes in chronic hypoxia in vivo. American Journal of Pathology 170 2171-2179.
661
Zhang HJ, Xue WC, Siu MK, Liao XY, Ngan HY & Cheung AN 2009 P63 expression in
662
gestational trophoblastic disease: correlation with proliferation and apoptotic dynamics.
663
International Journal of Gynecological Pathology 28 172-178.
664
665
666
Zhu JK 2009 Active DNA demethylation mediated by DNA glycosylases. Annual Reviews in
Genetics 43 143-66.
Zygmunt M, Herr F, Münstedt K, Lang U & Liang OD 2003 Angiogenesis and
667
vasculogenesis in pregnancy. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and
668
Reproductive Biology 110 S10-S18.
30
Page 31 of 40
669
List of Figures
670
Fig. 1. Crump to rump length of fetuses from day 20 to 30 of pregnancy (A) and labeling index
671
(% of proliferating cells; B) in fetal membranes on days 16-30 of pregnancy. Fetuses from day
672
16 and 18 were not collected and measured due to their small size (<2 mm) and tissue
673
transparency. a,b,c,dP<0.0001-0.05; values ± SEM with different superscripts differ within a
674
specific measurement.
675
676
Fig. 2. Representative photomicrographs of immunohistochemical staining for Ki67 (A), 5-
677
methyl cytosine (5mC; B) and smooth muscle cell actin (SMCA; C) in uterine tissues from day
678
24 of early pregnancy. Dark color represents positive staining and pink color (nuclear fast red
679
staining) indicates unlabeled ell nuclei. In (A), note nuclear staining of Ki-67 (arrows) in fetal
680
membranes (FM) and endometrium (E). In (B), note punctate staining of 5mC in nuclei of the
681
majority of cells (arrows) in FM and E, and a lack of staining in some cells (arrowheads) in FM.
682
In (C), note SMCA cytoplasmic staining in blood vessels in FM (arrows), and E (arrowheads). In
683
(D), note a lack of positive staining in the controls in which mouse IgG was used in place of the
684
primary antibody.
685
686
Fig. 3. Expression of 5mC as determined by DNA dot blot (A), and mRNA for DNA
687
methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 (B), 3a (C) and 3b (D) in fetal membranes (FM) on days 16-30 of
688
pregnancy. a,b,c,dP<0.0001-0.06; values ± SEM with different superscripts differ within each
689
specific gene.
690
31
Page 32 of 40
691
Fig. 4. Expression of mRNA for placental growth factor (PGF; A), vascular endothelial growth
692
factor receptor (VEGF; B), VEGF receptor FLT1 (C), VEGF receptor KDR (D), angiopoietin
693
(ANGPT) 1 (E), ANGPT2 (F), ANGPT receptor TEK (G), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2; H),
694
endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3; I), NOS3 receptor GUCY1B3 (J) and hypoxia inducible
695
factor (HIF) 1A (H) in fetal membranes (FM) on days 16-30 of pregnancy.
696
a,b,c,d
P<0.0001-0.06; values ± SEM with different superscripts differ within each specific gene.
32
Page 33 of 40
Fig. 1
25
A; P<0.0001
40
Labeling index (%)
Length of fetus (mm)
d
20
c
15
10
c
b
b
a
5
B; P>0.2
30
20
10
0
0
20
22
24
26
28
Day of pregnancy
16
30
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
30
Page 34 of 40
A
B
FM
FM
E
C
E
D
FM
FM
E
FM
EE
Page 35 of 40
A; 5mC; P<0.003
Relative expression
2
1.6
ab
b
b
abc
1.2
ac
ac
c
c
0.8
0.4
0
16
18
20
22
24
26
28
30
Relative mRNA expression
Fig. 3.
1.5
B; Dnmt1; P=0.12
bc
1
ab
ab
18
20
a
abc
1
ab
d
cd
ab
a
0.5
0
16
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
30
Relative mRNA expression
Relative mRNA expression
cd
abc
0
16
22
24
26
28
30
Day of pregnancy
C; Dnmt3a; P<0.004
bcd
abc
c
0.5
Day of pregnancy
1.5
bc
2.5
D; Dnmt3b; P<0.0001
a
2
a
1.5
b
1
b
bc bc
0.5
bc
c
0
16
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
30
Page 36 of 40
A; PGF: P<0.0001
3
c
Relative mRNA expression
Relative mRNA expression
Fig. 4.
c
c
2
b
1
a
a
a
16
18
a
0
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
0.3
B; VEGF; P<0.0001
d
cd
0.2
0.1
a
ab
ab
ab
bc
a
0
30
16
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
30
1.2
d
0.8
c
bc
0.4
a
a
16
18
ab
ab
ab
0
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
Relative mRNA expression
Relative mRNA expression
C; FLT1; P<0.0001
0.6
D; KDR; P<0.0001
b
b
b
0.4
a
a
a
0.2
a
a
0
16
30
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
30
0.4
c
c
0.3
0.2
b
a
0.1
0
a
a
16
18
a
a
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
Relative mRNA expression
Relative mRNA expression
E; ANGPT1; P<0.0001
30
0.12
F; ANGPT2; P<0.0001
0.08
bc
bc
b
ab
0.04
a
0
16
c
c
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
30
G; TEK; P<0.0001
d
Relative mRNA expression
bc
bc
0.4
ab
ab
0.2
a
0
16
1.6
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
I; NOS3; P<0.001
c
c
ab
0.4
a
a
0
0.7
0.6
0.5
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
K; HIF1A; P<0.02
b
b
ac
ac
a
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0
16
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
bc
30
bc
c
bc
0.2
ab
0.1
abc
abc
a
0
0.5
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
b
0.4
0.3
0.2
30
J; GUCY1B3; P<0.01
a
a
a
a
a
0.1
a
a
0
16
30
bc
ac
a
H; FGF2; P<0.06
16
bc
0.8
0.3
30
c
bc
1.2
16
Relative mRNA expression
cd
cd
0.6
Relative mRNA expression
0.8
Relative mRNA expression
Relative mRNA expression
Page 37 of 40
18
20 22 24 26 28
Day of pregnancy
30
Page 38 of 40
Table 1. Regression analysis of angiogenic genes in FM from early pregnancy.
Gene
PGF
Regression type
P value
R2
Equation
Exponential sigmoidal P<0.0001 0.7904 Y = 5.284 x 10 7 e0.996 X - 0.016 X2
VEGF
Quadratic
FLT1
Exponential
KDR
Cubic
P<0.0001 0.5432 Y = 0.249 - 0.021 X + 0.001 X2
P<0.0001 0.7788 Y = 0.0007 e0.231 X
P<0.0001 0.4568 Y = -13.535 + 1.724 X – 0.069 X2 + 0.0009 X3
ANGPT1
Exponential sigmoidal P<0.0001 0.7860 Y = 4.453e-12 e1.621 X - 0.027 X2
ANGPT2
Exponential sigmoidal P<0.0001 0.7741 Y = 4.083e-19e3.138 X - 0.061 X2
TEK
Exponential sigmoidal P<0.0001 0.4610 Y = 2.823e-8 e1.367 X - 0.028 X2
FGF2
Exponential sigmoidal P=0.0002 0.3033 Y = 1.267e-11 e1.855 X - 0.036 X2
FGFR2
NO3S
GUCY1B3
HIF
-Cubic
NS
--
--
P=0.0002 0.3393 Y = 1.542 - 0.537 X + 0.039 X2 - 0.0007 X3
--
NS
Cubic
P=0.007
--
--
0.2250 Y = -11.594 + 1.666 X - 0.075 X2 + 0.001 X3
Page 39 of 40
Table 2. Correlation coefficients for mRNA expression of angiogenic factors in fetal membranes.
PGF
VEGF
FLT1
KDR
VEGF
0.735
P<0.0001
-
FLT1
0.750
P<0.0001
0.779;
P<0.0001
KDR
-
NS
NS*
NS
-
ANGPT1
ANGPT2
TEK
FGF2
FGFR2
IIIc
NOS3
GUCY1B
3
*NS, not statistically significant, P>0.1
ANGPT1
0.783
P<0.0001
0.775
P<0.0001
0.802
P<0.0001
-0.249
P<0.08
-
ANGPT2
0.544
P<0.0001
0.458
P<0.0007
0.485
P<0.0003
NS
0.343
P<0.01
-
FGFR2
IIIc
TEK
FGF2
NS
NS
NS
0.260
P<0.06
NS
0.851
P<0.0001
NS
0.422
P<0.002
NS
0.424
P<0.002
NS
0.341
P<0.01
0.499
P<0.0002
NS
-
NS
-
NS
0.274
P<0.05
0.237
P<0.09
0.416
P<0.002
NS
0.438
P<0.001
-
NOS3
0.453
P<0.0009
0.510
P<0.0001
0.248
P<0.08
GUCY1B
3
NS
NS
0.367
P<0.008
NS
NS
NS
0.358
P<0.01
0.472
P<0.0005
0.488
P<0.0003
0.335
P<0.02
NS
NS
NS
-0.327
P<0.02
NS
NS
NS
NS
NS
NS
NS
0.459
P<0.0007
-
NS
HIF1A
NS
-
NS
NS
0.265
P<0.06
Page 40 of 40
Table 3. Sequence of TaqMan primers and probes for Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, and Dnmt3b.
Oligonucleotidea
Nucleotide Sequence
Sheep Dnmt1 FP
5’- CCT GGG TCC ACG GTG TTC -3’
Sheep Dnmt1 RP
5’- CCA CCC ATG ACC AGC TTC A -3’
Sheep Dnmt1 Probe
5’-(6FAM) AGA GTA CTG CAA CGT CCT -(MGBNFQ)-3’
Sheep Dnmt3a FP
5’- TGT ACG AGG TAC GGC AGA AGT G -3’
Sheep Dnmt3a RP
5’- GGC TCC CAC AAG AGA TGC A -3’
Accession numberb
NM_001009473
HQ202740
Sheep Dnmt3a Probe 5’-(6FAM) ATG TCC TCG ATG TTC CG -(MGBNFQ)-3’
Sheep Dnmt3b FP
5’- AGC GGC AGG CGA TGT CT -3’
Sheep Dnmt3b RP
5’- GAG AAC TTG CCA TCA CCA AAC C -3’
HQ202741
Sheep Dnmt3b Probe 5’-(6FAM) CTG GAC CCA CCG CAT -(MGBNFQ)-3’
a
FP, Forward primer and RP, Reverse primer.
b
Nucleotide sequences for ovine-specific genes were obtained from the National Center for Biotechnology Information
(NCBI, 2010) database.
`