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Fabien Duval, Esther Dos Santos, Benoit Maury, Valérie Serazin, Khadija Fathallah, François Vialard and Marie-Noëlle Dieudonné

Throughout the entire first trimester of pregnancy, fetal growth is sustained by endometrial secretions, i.e histiotrophic nutrition. Endometrial stromal cells (EnSCs) accumulate and secrete a variety of nutritive molecules which are absorbed by trophoblastic cells and transmitted to the fetus. Glycogen appears to have a critical role in the early stages of fetal development, since infertile women have low endometrial glycogen levels. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying glycogen metabolism and trafficking at the fetal-maternal interface have not yet been characterized. Among the various factors acting at the fetal-maternal interface, we focused on adiponectin - an adipocyte-secreted cytokine involved in the control of carbohydrate and lipid homeostasis. Our results clearly demonstrated that adiponectin controls glycogen metabolism in EnSCs by (i) increasing glucose transporter 1 expression (ii) inhibiting glucose catabolism via a decrease in lactate and ATP productions (iii) increasing glycogen synthesis, (iv) promoting glycogen accumulation via phosphoinositide-3 kinase activation, and (v) enhancing glycogen secretion. Furthermore, our results revealed that adiponectin significantly limits glycogen endocytosis by human VTs. Lastly, we demonstrated that once glycogen has been endocytosed into placental cells, it is degraded into glucose molecules in lysosomes. Taken as a whole, the present results demonstrate that adiponectin exerts a dual role at the fetal-maternal interface by promoting glycogen synthesis in the endometrium and conversely reducing trophoblastic glycogen uptake. We conclude that adiponectin may be involved in feeding the conceptus during the first trimester of pregnancy by controlling glycogen metabolism in both the uterus and the placenta.

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Fabien Duval, Esther Dos Santos, Benoît Maury, Valérie Serazin, Khadija Fathallah, François Vialard and Marie-Noëlle Dieudonné

Throughout the entire first trimester of pregnancy, fetal growth is sustained by endometrial secretions, i.e. histiotrophic nutrition. Endometrial stromal cells (EnSCs) accumulate and secrete a variety of nutritive molecules that are absorbed by trophoblastic cells and transmitted to the fetus. Glycogen appears to have a critical role in the early stages of fetal development, since infertile women have low endometrial glycogen levels. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying glycogen metabolism and trafficking at the fetal–maternal interface have not yet been characterized. Among the various factors acting at the fetal–maternal interface, we focused on adiponectin – an adipocyte-secreted cytokine involved in the control of carbohydrate and lipid homeostasis. Our results clearly demonstrated that adiponectin controls glycogen metabolism in EnSCs by (i) increasing glucose transporter 1 expression, (ii) inhibiting glucose catabolism via a decrease in lactate and ATP productions, (iii) increasing glycogen synthesis, (iv) promoting glycogen accumulation via phosphoinositide-3 kinase activation and (v) enhancing glycogen secretion. Furthermore, our results revealed that adiponectin significantly limits glycogen endocytosis by human villous trophoblasts. Lastly, we demonstrated that once glycogen has been endocytosed into placental cells, it is degraded into glucose molecules in lysosomes. Taken as a whole, the present results demonstrate that adiponectin exerts a dual role at the fetal–maternal interface by promoting glycogen synthesis in the endometrium and conversely reducing trophoblastic glycogen uptake. We conclude that adiponectin may be involved in feeding the conceptus during the first trimester of pregnancy by controlling glycogen metabolism in both the uterus and the placenta.

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Fabien Duval, Esther Dos Santos, Hadia Moindjie, Valérie Serazin, Nelly Swierkowski-Blanchard, François Vialard and Marie-Noëlle Dieudonné

Successful human embryo implantation requires a proper differentiation of endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) into decidual cells, during a process called decidualization. ESCs express specific molecules, such as prolactin, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) and connexin-43. Decidual cells are also involved in the control of trophoblast invasion, by secreting various factors, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). Adiponectin is an adipokine with insulin-sensitizing, anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects. At the embryo–maternal interface, adiponectin promotes differentiation and invasion of human trophoblastic cells. We hypothesize that the effects of adiponectin on endometrium could counteract its pro-invasive effects previously described in the human trophoblast. In this context, we have firstly demonstrated that adiponectin downregulates IGFBP-1 and connexin-43 mRNA expressions, as well as prolactin secretion in ESCs, suggesting an anti-differentiative effect of adiponectin. Secondly, we found that invasive capacities of trophoblastic cell line HTR-8/SVneo are reduced in the presence of conditioned media from ESC cultured in the presence of adiponectin. Adiponectin’s anti-invasive action is associated with a decreased activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and an increased TIMP-3 mRNA expression in ESCs. Finally, adiponectin receptors (ADIPOR1 and ADIPOR2) knockdown abolishes the anti-differentiative and anti-invasive effects of adiponectin in human ESCs. Altogether, our results suggest that adiponectin reduces the decidualization process and inversely induces the production of endometrial factors that limit trophoblast invasion. Thus, through a dual control in trophoblast and endometrial cells, adiponectin appears as a pivotal actor of the embryo implantation process.