New phenotypic aspects of the decidual spiral artery wall during early post-implantation mouse pregnancy
SourceBiochemical and biophysical research communications
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During pregnancy the walls of decidual spiral arteries (SAs) undergo clinically important structural modifications crucial for embryo survival/growth and maternal health. However, the mechanisms of SA remodeling (SAR) are poorly understood. Although an important prerequisite to this understanding is knowledge about the phenotype of SA muscular wall prior to and during the beginning of mouse SAR, this remains largely unexplored and was the main aim of this work. Using histological and immunohistochemical techniques, this study shows for the first time that during early mouse gestation, from embryonic day 7.5 (E7.5) to E10.5, the decidual SA muscular coat is not a homogeneous structure, but consists of two concentric layers. The first is a largely one cell-thick sub-endothelial layer of contractile mural cells (positive for α-smooth muscle actin, calponin and SM22α) with pericyte characteristics (NG2 positive). The second layer is thicker, and evidence is presented that it may be of the synthetic/proliferative smooth muscle phenotype, based on absence (α-smooth muscle actin and calponin) or weak (SM22α) expression of contractile mural cell markers, and presence of synthetic smooth muscle characteristics (expression of non-muscle Myosin heavy chain-IIA and of the cell proliferation marker PCNA). Importantly, immunohistochemistry and morphometrics showed that the contractile mural cell layer although prominent at E7.5-E8.5, becomes drastically reduced by E10.5 and is undetectable by E12.5. In conclusion, this study reveals novel aspects of the decidual SA muscular coat phenotype prior to and during early SAR that may have important implications for understanding the mechanisms of SAR. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
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