Decidualization is an indispensable event in the embryo implantation process, but its underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, we showed that in mice, the uterine expression of N-myc downstream-regulated gene 3 (NDRG3), a member of the α/β hydrolase superfamily, was induced by estradiol and progesterone. During the embryo implantation process, uterine Ndrg3 expression was remarkably upregulated, and its expression level at implantation sites (IS) was significantly higher than that at inter-IS. Increased uterine expression of Ndrg3 was associated with artificial decidualization and the activation of delayed implantation. The in vitro decidualization of mouse endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) induced by estradiol and progesterone was also accompanied by increased Ndrg3 expression, and downregulated Ndrg3 expression in ESCs effectively inhibited decidualization. miR-290b-5p was identified as an upstream regulator of Ndrg3, and the uterine expression level of miR-290b-5p was decreased during the implantation process. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-290b-5p in mouse ESCs inhibited their in vitro decidualization. Taken together, these data suggested that Ndrg3 might play an important role in embryo implantation by regulating decidualization potentially via the estrogen/progesterone/miR-290b-5p pathway.
Keywords: NDRG3; decidualization; implantation; miR-290b-5p.