Parathyroid hormone-like hormone (PTHLH) secretion has been reported in human amnion, chorion, decidual cytotrophoblast, syncytiotrophoblast, endometrium, and myometrium; however, the functions of PTHLH during pregnancy, particularly during placenta formation and fetal development, are not well understood. We examined whether neutralization of PTHLH action using PTHLH antagonist, PTHLH7–34, in rats during early gestation affects fetal and placental growth. Rats received s.c. a daily dose of either 0, 4, 12, or 36 μg of PTHLH7–34 infused continuously through mini-osmotic pumps from Day 8 through Day 15 of pregnancy. Fetal weights measured on Day 15 were significantly decreased in rats treated with all the doses of PTHLH7–34 compared to controls, and decreases in placental weights were significant at the 12-μg dose. TUNEL assay demonstrated an increased number of apoptotic cells in placenta of treated rats, including rats treated with the 4-μg dose. Cleaved caspase 3 (CASP3), caspase 9 (CASP9) (P < 0.05) and poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP1) (P < 0.01) expression was increased and BCL2 (P < 0.01) expression was decreased in rats treated with 4 μg PTHLH7–34 compared to that in control. Placental cytochrome c expression was increased (P < 0.01) in cytosolic and decreased (P < 0.01) in mitochondrial fraction in PTHLH7–34-treated rats. Caspase 8 expression was not affected by the treatment. Immunohistochemical analysis of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM1) showed higher staining intensity in control than in treated rats. In conclusion, these results suggests that PTHLH plays a role in early pregnancy, and that antagonization of PTHLH action causes fetoplacental growth restriction through activation of mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis in the placenta and through decreased expression of PECAM1.
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