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Jinglin Zhang, Jie Gao, Di Zhang, Hui Liu, Kemian Gou, and Sheng Cui

Prolactin (PRL) is a pituitary hormone that regulates multiple physiological processes. However, the mechanisms of PLR synthesis have not been fully elucidated. The aims of the present study were to study the functions and the related mechanisms of miR-375 regulating PRL synthesis. We initially found that miR-375 mainly expressed in the lactotrophs of mouse pituitary gland. To identify the function of miR-375 in the pituitary gland, the miR-375 knockout mice were generated by using Crispr/Cas9 technique. The results showed that miR-375 knockout resulted in the decline of pituitary PRL mRNA and protein levels by 75.7% and 60.4% respectively, and the serum PRL level reduced about 46.1%, but had no significant effect on FSH, LH and TSH. Further, we identified that Estrogen receptor 1 (alpha) (Esr1) was a downstream molecule of miR-375. The real-time PCR and western blot results showed that ESR1 mRNA and protein levels markedly decreased by 40.9% and 42.9% in the miR-375 knockout mouse pituitary, and these were subsequently confirmed by the in vitro study using transfections of miR-375 mimics and inhibitors in pituitary lactotroph GH4 cells. Further, Rasd1 was predicted by bioinformatic tools and proved to be the direct target of miR-375 in lactotrophs using dual-luciferase reporter assay. Rasd1-siRNA transfection results revealed the negative effect of Rasd1 in regulating ESR1. Collectively, the results presented here demonstrate that miR-375 positively modulates PRL synthesis through Rasd1 and Esr1, which are crucial for understanding the regulating mechanisms of pituitary hormone synthesis.

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Jie Liu, Fei Gao, Yue-Fang Liu, Hai-Ting Dou, Jia-Qi Yan, Zong-Min Fan, and Zeng-Ming Yang

Embryo implantation and decidualization are key steps for successful reproduction. Although numerous factors have been identified to be involved in embryo implantation and decidualization, the mechanisms underlying these processes are still unclear. Based on our preliminary data, Prss56, a trypsin-like serine protease, is strongly expressed at implantation site in mouse uterus. However, the expression, regulation and function of Prss56 during early pregnancy are still unknown. In mouse uterus, Prss56 is strongly expressed in the subluminal stromal cells at implantation site on day 5 of pregnancy compared to inter-implantation site. Under delayed implantation, Prss56 expression is undetected. After delayed implantation is activated by estrogen, Prss56 is obviously induced at implantation site. Under artificial decidualization, Prss56 signal is seen at the primary decidual zone at the initial stage of artificial decidualization. When stromal cells are induced for in vitro decidualization, Prss56 expression is significantly elevated. Dtprp expression under in vitro decidualization is suppressed by Prss56 siRNA. In cultured stromal cells, HB-EGF markedly stimulates Prss56 expression through EGFR/ERK pathway. Based on promoter analysis, we also showed that Egr2 is involved in Prss56 regulation by HB-EGF. Collectively, Prss56 expression at implantation site is modulated by HB-EGF/EGFR/ERK signaling pathway and involved in mouse decidualization.

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Dang-Dang Li, Ying-Jie Gao, Xue-Chao Tian, Zhan-Qing Yang, Hang Cao, Qiao-Ling Zhang, Bin Guo, and Zhan-Peng Yue

Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (T do 2) is a rate-limiting enzyme which directs the conversion of tryptophan to kynurenine. The aim of this study was to examine the expression and regulation of T do 2 in mouse uterus during decidualization. T do 2 mRNA was mainly expressed in the decidua on days 6–8 of pregnancy. By real-time PCR, a high level of T do 2 expression was observed in the uteri from days 6 to 8 of pregnancy, although T do 2 expression was observed on days 1–8. Simultaneously, T do 2 mRNA was also detected under in vivo and in vitro artificial decidualization. Estrogen, progesterone, and 8-bromoadenosine-cAMP could induce the expression of T do 2 in the ovariectomized mouse uterus and uterine stromal cells. T do 2 could regulate cell proliferation and stimulate the expression of decidual marker Dtprp in the uterine stromal cells and decidual cells. Overexpression of T do 2 could upregulate the expression of Ahr, Cox2, and Vegf genes in uterine stromal cells, while T do 2 inhibitor 680C91 could downregulate the expression of Cox2 and Vegf genes in uterine decidual cells. These data indicate that T do 2 may play an important role during mouse decidualization and be regulated by estrogen, progesterone, and cAMP.

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Sisi Luan, Wenkai Bi, Shulong Shi, Li Peng, Zhanbin Li, Jie Jiang, Ling Gao, Yifeng Du, Xu Hou, Zhao He, and Jiajun Zhao

Subclinical hyperthyroidism, a condition characterized by decreased thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and normal concentration of thyroid hormone, is associated with an elevated risk for cognitive impairment. TSH is the major endogenous ligand of the TSH receptor (TSHR) and its role is dependent on signal transduction of TSHR. It has not, however, been established whether TSHR signaling is involved in the regulation of cognition. Here, we utilized Tshr knockout mice and found that Tshr deletion led to significantly compromised performance in learning and memory tests. Reduced dendritic spine density and excitatory synaptic density as well as altered synaptic structure in CA1 subfield of the hippocampus were also noted. Furthermore, the synapse-related gene expression was altered in the hippocampus of Tshr -/- mice. These findings suggest that TSHR signaling deficiency impairs spatial learning and memory, which discloses a novel role of TSHR signaling in brain function.