IMR Press / CEOG / Volume 49 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.31083/j.ceog4901007
Open Access Original Research
COUP-TFI deletion affects angiogenesis and apoptosis related gene expression in mouse placenta: results of an explorative study
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1 Department of Precision Medicine, University of Campania “L. Vanvitelli”, 80138 Naples, Italy
2 Department of Laboratory Medicine, ASUFC, 33100 Udine, Italy
3 Université Côte d’Azur (UCA), CNRS, Inserm, iBV, 06108 Nice, France
4 Obstetrics and Gynecology, AOU S.M. della Misericordia, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
5 Ennergi Research (non-profit organization), via Talmassons1, 33050 Lestizza (UD), Italy
6 Institute of Surgical Pathology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, ASUFC, 33100 Udine, Italy
7 Clinic of Surgery, AOU Santa Maria della Misericordia, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
8 Institute of Surgical Pathology, Department of Medicine – DAME, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
9 Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Fribourg, 1752 Villars sur Glane, Fribourg, Switzerland
*Correspondence: (Arrigo Fruscalzo); (Ambrogio P Londero)
Academic Editor: Mahmoud S. Ahmed
Clin. Exp. Obstet. Gynecol. 2022, 49(1), 6;
Submitted: 26 July 2021 | Revised: 26 August 2021 | Accepted: 13 September 2021 | Published: 10 January 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: Chicken Ovalbumin Upstream Promoter-Transcription Factor I (COUP-TFI) is a member of the steroid/thyroid nuclear receptor superfamily. The aim of this study was to investigate whether absence of this gene affects placental development and fetal growth in a COUP-TFI knockout mouse model. Methods: Placentas of COUP-TFI-knockout (COUP-TFI KO) and wild-type (WT) were collected at 18.5 days post-coitum. The expression level of the following genes known to be involved in different key molecular pathways was evaluated: BCL2 Associated X (Bax) and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) (apoptosis), p21, p53 and α subunit of inhibin (INHA) (proliferation and apoptosis), vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), placental growth factor (PlGF), hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF1α), Fms related receptor tyrosine kinase 1 (Flt-1), and endoglin (ENG) (angiogenesis). Mouse litter weight at birth was also assessed. Results: RT-qPCR analysis showed increased mRNA expression of VEGF-A and Bax in placental tissue of COUP-TFI KO mice compared to WT mice. We also found a loss in the positive correlation between Bcl-2 and INHA, p21 and ENG, as well as HIF1α and Flt-1 mRNA expression in COUP-TFI mutants. Finally, KO mice were lighter than WT littermates (respectively, the mean weight of COUP-TFI KO mice was 1.3 grams, ± 0.13, compared to 1.6 g, ± 0.14 of WT mice, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Our results show that COUP-TFI deletion is associated with a lower birth weight in mice and increased placental transcript expression of pro-apoptotic Bax and pro-angiogenetic VEGF-A genes.

COUP Transcription Factor I
Fig. 1.
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