Expression of prolactin-releasing peptide and its receptor in the human decidua

Fernando M. Reis, Paola Viganò, Enrico Arnaboldi, Poli M. Spritzer, Felice Petraglia, Anna M. Di Blasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human decidua and decidualized endometrial cells produce prolactin (PRL). Several growth factors and cytokines have been shown to regulate decidual PRL release, but a specific PRL-releasing substance remains to be characterized. Prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP) is a peptide isolated from the brain and distinguished by its potent and specific stimulation of PRL release by cultured pituitary cells. Here, we demonstrate that human decidua expresses immunoreactive PrRP as well as the mRNAs encoding PrRP and its receptor. First trimester deciduas were obtained from women undergoing elective termination of pregnancy. Tissue specimens were stained by immunohistochemistry using a rabbit anti-human PrRP-31 antibody, and PrRP was localized in both epithelial cells of the decidual glands and in stromal cells, with diffuse distribution and no special relation with the neighbourhood of blood vessels. In primary cultures of decidual stromal cells, PrRP and PrRP receptor gene expression were detected using RT-PCR, and the identity of the PCR products was further confirmed by restriction enzyme digestion. The effect of PrRP on decidual PRL release was also evaluated, and there was a significant increase in PRL production (135 ± 4% of control levels, P <0.05) after incubation of decidual stromal cells with synthetic PrRP. The expression of PrRP and PrRP receptor in human decidual cells and the ability of PrRP to induce PRL secretion by cultured decidual cells suggests that this peptide may be a novel local modulator of decidual PRL release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-362
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Decidua
  • mRNA
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolactin-releasing peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Embryology
  • Cell Biology


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