Hormonal regulation of cytokine release by human fetal membranes at term gestation: Effects of oxytocin, hydrocortisone and progesterone on tumour necrosis factor-α and transforming growth factor-β 1 output

A. Zicari, C. Ticconi, M. Realacci, O. Cela, C. Santangelo, A. Pietropolli, M. A. Russo, E. Piccione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Inflammatory cytokines can play an important role in the biomolecular processes leading to labour by regulating prostaglandin production in intrauterine tissues. In the setting of intrauterine infection, an increased production of these cytokines by placenta, decidua and fetal membranes occurs and is responsible for the onset and maintenance of preterm labour. However, the factors involved in the control of cytokine release by these tissues in normal pregnancy at term are still largely unknown. We investigated the possibility that the synthesis and release of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) by human fetal membranes at term gestation is regulated by several hormones potentially involved either in the maintenance of pregnancy or in the parturitional process. In the present study, the effects of hydrocortisone, progesterone and oxytocin on TNF-α and TGF-β1 release by explants of fetal membranes at term gestation were evaluated. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to assess the effect of the above hormones on mRNA expression; TNF-α and TGF-β1 release in culture medium was quantitifed by ELISA assays. Results show that both tissue mRNA expression for TNF-α and TNF-α release in culture medium were significantly increased by oxytocin, but not by hydrocortisone and progesterone. On the contrary, all the hormones tested increased both tissue TGF-β1 mRNA expression and release in culture medium. These findings suggest that TNF-α and TGF-β1 production by human fetal membranes in uncomplicated pregnancy at term is selectively modulated by oxytocin, hydrocortisone and progesterone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
Volume56
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Cytokines
  • Fetal membranes
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Oxytocin
  • Progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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