Mucin (MUC)1 is a multifunctional mucin expressed by a variety of reproductive tract epithelia. Trophoblast invasion is essential for normal placental development. However, MUC1 expression in the human placenta throughout pregnancy and the role of MUC1 in trophoblast-like cell invasion are still unclear. In the present study, results from quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot demonstrated that MUC1 mRNA and MUC1 protein expression, respectively, increased with gestational age of the human placenta. Immunohistochemistry revealed that MUC1 in placental villi was mainly expressed by syncytiotrophoblasts throughout pregnancy and increased with gestational age. Interestingly, we found two populations of extravillous trophoblasts, MUC1-positive and MUC1-negative cells, in decidua. The numbers of MUC1-positive extravillous trophoblasts were increased during placental development. Furthermore, MUC1 overexpression significantly (P < 0.01) suppressed matrigel invasion of trophoblast-like JAR cells by 34.6% ± 4.5% compared with control, which was associated with a decrease in MMP9 activity assessed by gelatin zymography. Our results suggest that MUC1 expression in the human placenta is increased during placental development, and its overexpression suppresses trophoblast-like cell invasion in vitro.
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Vol. 79 • No. 2