Deciphering the role of PGRMC1 during human decidualization using an in vitro approach.

Salsano, S, González-Martín, R, Quiñonero, A, Perez-Deben, S, Dominguez, F
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. May. 2021 doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab303


Context: Non-classical membrane progesterone receptor (mPRs) and progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) expression have been detected in endometrium, but their role in decidualization had not yet been investigated. We previously demonstrated PGRMC1 downregulation in receptive endometrium and that its overexpression inhibits decidualization. Furthermore, during decidualization, PGRMC1 mainly interacts with proteins involved in biosynthesis, intracellular transport, and mitochondrial activity. Objective: To determine PGRMC1 and mPRs signaling role during decidualization. Methods: Isolated primary endometrial stromal cells (EnSC) were decidualized in vitro in the presence of classic stimuli (E2 + P4), PGRMC1 inhibitor (AG205), or membrane-impermeable P4 (P4-BSA). Endometrial biopsies were obtained from 19 fertile oocyte donors attending the IVI-Valencia in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic. EnSC decidualization was evaluated by prolactin ELISA and F-actin immunostaining. Progesterone receptor localization was evaluated by immunofluorescence. EnSC transcriptomic profiles were analyzed by microarray technology. Results: PGRMC1 inhibition during EnSC decidualization (AG205dEnSC) does not interfere with EnSC cytoskeletal rearrangements and prolactin secretion. However, global transcriptional profiling revealed more differentially expressed genes in AG205dEnSC than in dEnSC, compared with nondecidualized EnSC (ndEnSC). In silico analysis showed that PGRMC1 inhibition upregulated more genes related to metabolism, molecular transport, and hormonal biosynthesis compared with control dEnSC. EnSC decidualized in the presence of P4-BSA showed a similar behavior as ndEnSC in terms of morphological features, absence of prolactin secretion, and transcriptomic pattern. Conclusion: Our findings associate PGRMC1 to hormonal biosynthesis, metabolism, and vesicular transport-important cellular functions for dEnSC supporting pregnancy. Activation of membrane P4 receptor signaling alone was unable to induce downstream effects needed for proper decidualization.