Immunohistochemical localization of transforming growth factor-alpha in human endometrium, decidua, and trophoblast.

Research paper by G M GM Horowitz, R T RT Scott, M R MR Drews, D D Navot, G E GE Hofmann

Indexed on: 01 Mar '93Published on: 01 Mar '93Published in: The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism


Transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) was localized immunohistochemically in human proliferative and secretory endometrium, decidua, and trophoblast from first, second, and third trimester pregnancies. In proliferative endometrium, TGF-alpha immunostaining was moderate to intense and localized predominantly to stromal cells, whereas glandular staining was absent to light. After ovulation, TGF-alpha staining was light within the stroma, but moderate to intense around spiral arterioles. Moderate to intense staining was also detected in glandular and surface epithelium in secretory endometrium, with no staining noted in subnuclear vacuoles. In hypersecretory endometrium, staining was predominantly epithelial. In decidua, TGF-alpha was detected in intermediate trophoblast and on the surface epithelium. In first trimester trophoblast, TGF-alpha was detected in both cytotrophoblast (CT) and syncytiotrophoblast. Cytoplasmic staining was light in CT and moderate to intense in ST, with particular staining of plasma membranes. Intense TGF-alpha staining of nuclear membranes in CT was noted. TGF-alpha staining was light to absent in second and absent in third trimester trophoblast. This study demonstrates immunoreactive TGF-alpha in tissues known to be responsive to epidermal growth factor, and also demonstrates the presence of immunoreactive TGF-alpha associated with nuclear membranes. Thus, TGF-alpha may play an autocrine/paracrine role in endometrial development and trophoblast function.