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Localization and distribution of tissue type and urokinase type plasminogen activators and their inhibitors type 1 and 2 in human and rhesus monkey fetal membranes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/1998
Issue number2-3
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)171-180
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Fetal membranes consist of 10 distinct layers including components of amnion, chorion and decidua, the latter being of maternal origin. They form mechanically integrated sheets capable of retaining amniotic fluid and play an essential role in protecting fetal growth and development in the pregnant uterus. The extracellular matrix, substrate for plasminogen activators (PAs), is an important supportive framework of the fetal membranes. :Fetal membranes from women with preterm premature rupture of membranes may differ in their protease activity compared with normal membranes. To identify the presence of PAs and their inhibitors (PAI) and their possible role in the process of fetal membrane rupture, this study in investigated the distribution and localization of both protein and mRNA for tissue (t) and urokinase (u) PA and their inhibitors type 1 (PAI-1) and type 2 (PAI-2) in amniochorion of human and rhesus monkey using conventional and. confocal immunofluorescence microscopy. In situ hybridization analysis showed that the distribution and localization of mRNAs for tPA, uPA, PAI-I and PAI-2 were similar in the fetal membranes of human and rhesus monkey; no obvious species difference was observed. Evidence of tPA mRNA was detected in amniotic epithelium, trophoblast cells and nearly all cells of the decidual layer. Strong expression of uPA mRNA was noted in the decidual cells which increased in intensity as the abscission point was approached. Weak staining in chorion laeve trophoblast was also detected. In situ hybridization experiments showed PAI-1 mRNA to be concentrated mainly in the decidual cells, some of which were interposed into the maternal-facing edge of the chorion laeve. Maximal labelling of the decidua occurred towards the zone of abscission. Weak expression of PAI-1 mRNA nas also noted in some cells of the chorion laeve. The distribution of PAI-2 mRNA in amniochorion was also concentrated in the cells of the decidual layer, maximum expression of the mRNA was in the level of abscission. No detectable amount of mRNAs for tPA, uPA, PAI-1 and PAI-2 was found in the fibroblast, reticular and spongy layers. Distribution of the proteins of tPA, uPA and PAI-1 in the fetal membranes of these two species was consistent with the distribution of their mRNA. Anti-PAI-2 immunofluorescence was found to be strongly concentrated in the amniotic epithelium, but PAI-2 mRNA was negative in this layer, suggesting that the epithelium-associated PAI-2 is not of epithelial origin. These findings suggest that a local fibrinolysis in fetal membranes generated by precisely balanced expression of PAs and their inhibitors via paracrine or autocrine mechanisms may play an essential role in fetal membrane development, maturation and in membrane rupture. Following an analysis of the distribution and synthesis of activators and inhibitors it was found that they may play a role in abscission during the third stage of labour. (C) 1998 W. B. Saunders Company Ltd.