Prematurely elevating estradiol in early baboon pregnancy suppresses uterine artery remodeling and expression of extravillous placental vascular endothelial growth factor and α1β1 and α5β1 integrins

Endocrinology. 2012 Jun;153(6):2897-906. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1141. Epub 2012 Apr 11.


We previously showed that advancing the increase in estradiol levels from the second to the first third of baboon pregnancy suppressed placental extravillous trophoblast (EVT) invasion and remodeling of the uterine spiral arteries. Cell culture studies show that vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) plays a central role in regulating EVT migration and remodeling of the uterine spiral arteries by increasing the expression/action of certain integrins that control extracellular matrix remodeling. To test the hypothesis that the estradiol-induced reduction in vessel remodeling in baboons is associated with an alteration in VEGF and integrin expression, extravillous placental VEGF and integrin expression was determined on d 60 of gestation (term is 184 d) in baboons in which uterine artery transformation was suppressed by maternal estradiol administration on d 25-59. EVT uterine spiral artery invasion was 5-fold lower (P < 0.01), and VEGF protein expression, quantified by in situ proximity ligation assay, was 50% lower (P < 0.05) in the placenta anchoring villi of estradiol-treated than in untreated baboons. α1β1 and α5β1 mRNA levels in cells isolated by laser capture microdissection from the anchoring villi and cytotrophoblastic shell of estradiol-treated baboons were over 2-fold (P < 0.01) and 40% (P < 0.05) lower, respectively, than in untreated animals. In contrast, placental extravillous αvβ3 mRNA expression was unaltered by estradiol treatment. In summary, extravillous placental expression of VEGF and α1β1 and α5β1 integrins was decreased in a cell- and integrin-specific manner in baboons in which EVT invasion and remodeling of the uterine spiral arteries were suppressed by prematurely elevating estradiol levels in early pregnancy. We propose that estrogen normally controls the extent to which the uterine arteries are transformed by placental EVT in primate pregnancy by regulating expression of VEGF and particular integrin extracellular remodeling molecules that mediate this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chorionic Villi / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Integrin alpha1beta1 / genetics
  • Integrin alpha1beta1 / metabolism*
  • Integrin alpha5beta1 / genetics
  • Integrin alpha5beta1 / metabolism*
  • Laser Capture Microdissection
  • Papio anubis
  • Pregnancy
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism
  • Uterine Artery / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*


  • Integrin alpha1beta1
  • Integrin alpha5beta1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Estradiol