PLoS One 2014 18;9(8):e104955. Epub 2014 Aug 18.
Center for Reproductive Medicine, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, P. R. China.
Embryo implantation into the maternal uterus is a decisive step for successful mammalian pregnancy. Osteopontin (OPN) is a member of the small integrin-binding ligand N-linked glycoprotein family and participates in cell adhesion and invasion. In this study, we showed that Opn mRNA levels are up-regulated in the mouse uterus on day 4 and at the implantation sites on days 5 and 8 of pregnancy. Immunohistochemistry localized the OPN protein to the glandular epithelium on day 4 and to the decidual zone on day 8 of pregnancy. OPN mRNA and proteins are induced by in vivo and in vitro decidualization. OPN expression in the endometrial stromal cells is regulated by progesterone, a key regulator during decidualization. As a secreted protein, the protein level of OPN in the uterine cavity is enriched on day 4, and in vitro embryo culturing has indicated that OPN can facilitate blastocyst hatching and adhesion. Knockdown of OPN attenuates the adhesion and invasion of blastocysts in mouse endometrial stromal cells by suppressing the expression and enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in the trophoblast. Our data indicated that OPN expression in the mouse uterus during early pregnancy is essential for blastocyst hatching and adhesion and that the knockdown of OPN in mouse endometrial stroma cells could lead to a restrained in vitro trophoblast invasion.