DHT and insulin up-regulate secretion of the soluble decoy receptor of IL-33 from decidualized endometrial stromal cells.
Interleukin 33 (IL-33) signaling regulates most of the key processes of pregnancy, including decidualization, trophoblast proliferation and invasion, vascular remodeling, and placental growth. Accordingly, dysregulation of IL-33, its membrane bound receptor (ST2L, transducer of IL-33 signaling) and its soluble decoy receptor (sST2, inhibitor of IL-33 signaling) has been linked to a wide range of adverse pregnancy outcomes that are common in women with obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome, i.e., conditions associated with hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinemia. To reveal if androgens and insulin might modulate uteroplacental IL-33 signaling, we investigated the effect of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and/or insulin on the expression of ST2L and sST2 (along with the activity of their promoter regions), IL-33 and sIL1RAP (heterodimerization partner of sST2) during in vitro decidualization of endometrial stromal cells from nine healthy women. DHT and insulin markedly up-regulated sST2 secretion, in addition to the upregulation of its mRNA expression, while the proximal ST2 promoter, from which the sST2 transcript originates, was up-regulated by insulin, and in a synergistic manner by DHT and insulin combination treatment. On the other hand, sIL1RAP was slightly downregulated by insulin, IL-33 mRNA expression was not affected by any of the hormones, while ST2L mRNA expression and transcription from its promoter region (distal ST2 promoter) could not be detected or showed a negligibly low level. We hypothesize that high levels of androgens and insulin might lead to subfertility and pregnancy complications, at least partially, through the sST2 dependent downregulation of uteroplacental IL-33 signaling.
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