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The ontogeny of 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3 1 alpha-hydroxylase expression and decidua

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Judith Bulmer, Barbara Innes


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in addition to its classical calciotropic effects, the active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-3 (1,25(OH)(2)D-3) is a potent anti-proliferative/immunomodulatory secosteroid. The enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of 1,25(OH)(2)D-3, 1alpha-hydroxylase (1alpha-OHase), is expressed in many human tissues, highlighting its possible role as an autocrine/paracrine activator of vitamin D. Immunohistochemical and RNA analyses were used to characterize the ontogeny of 1alpha-OHase expression in human placenta and decidua. Protein for 1alpha-OHase was detectable in trophoblast and decidua; the latter being stronger in decidualized stromal cells than macrophages, with no staining of lymphocytes. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction was used to assess changes in mRNA expression for 1alpha-OHase at different gestations: first (mean, 9.1 +/- 1.5 weeks); second (mean, 14 +/- 1.8 weeks), and third trimester (mean, 39.3 +/- 2.5 weeks). 1alpha-OHase expression in decidua was similar to1000-fold higher in first (95% confidence limits, 611 to 1376) and second (95% confidence limits, 633 to 1623) trimester biopsies when compared with the third trimester (95% confidence limits, 0.36 to 2.81) (both P < 0.001). In placenta, 1alpha-OHase expression was 80-fold higher in the first (range, 42 to 137) and second (range, 30 to 199) trimester when compared with third trimester biopsies (0.6 to 1.6) (both P < 0.001). Similar results were obtained by semiquantitative IHC. Parallel analysis of the receptor for 1,25(OH)(2)D-3 (vitamin D receptor) indicated that, as with 1alpha-OHase, highest levels of expression occurred in first trimester decidua. However, changes in vitamin D receptor mRNA expression across gestation were less pronounced than 1alpha-OHase. These spatiotemporal data emphasize the potential importance of 1alpha-OHase during early feto-placental life and, in particular, suggest an autocrine/paracrine immunomodulatory function for the enzyme.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zehnder D, Evans KN, Kilby MD, Bulmer JN, Innes BA, Stewart PM, Hewison M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Pathology

Year: 2002

Volume: 161

Issue: 1

Pages: 105-114

Print publication date: 17/12/2010

ISSN (print): 0002-9440

ISSN (electronic): 1525-2191

Publisher: American Society for Investigative Pathology


DOI: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)64162-4


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Funder referenceFunder name
G9826762Medical Research Council