The onset of labor alters corticotropin-releasing hormone type 1 receptor variant expression in human myometrium: putative role of interleukin-1beta.
Markovic D., Vatish M., Gu M., Slater D., Newton R., Lehnert H., Grammatopoulos DK.
CRH targets the human myometrium during pregnancy. The efficiency of CRH actions is determined by expression of functional receptors (CRH-R), which are dynamically regulated. Studies in myometrial tissue biopsies using quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that the onset of labor, term or preterm, is associated with a significant 2- to 3-fold increase in CRH-R1 mRNA levels. Detailed analysis of myometrial CRH-R1 mRNA variants showed a decline of the pro-CRH-R1 mRNA encoding the CRH-R1beta variant during labor and increased mRNA levels of CRH-R1d mRNA. Studies in myometrial cells identified IL-1beta as an important regulator of myometrial CRH-R1 gene expression because prolonged treatment of myometrial cells with IL-1beta (1 ng/ml) for 18 h induced expression of CRH-R1 mRNA levels by 1.5- to 2-fold but significantly attenuated CRH-R1beta mRNA expression by 70%. In contrast, IL-1beta had no effect on CRH-R1d mRNA expression. Studies using specific inhibitors suggest that ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, and downstream nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-kappaB mediate IL-1beta effects on myometrial CRH-R1 gene. However, the increased CRH-R1 mRNA expression was associated with a dampening of the receptor efficacy to activate the adenylyl cyclase/cAMP signaling cascade. Thus, our findings suggest that IL-1beta is an important regulator of CRH-R1 expression and functional activity, and this interaction might play a role in the transition of the uterus from quiescence to active contractions necessary for the onset of parturition.