PloS one 2018 03 2813(3) e0193583 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0193583
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) results from a lack of nutrients transferred to the developing fetus, particularly oxygen and glucose. Increased expression of the cytoprotective mitochondrial peptide, humanin (HN), and the glucose transporter 8, GLUT8, has been reported under conditions of hypoxic stress. However, the presence and cellular localization of HN and GLUT8 in IUGR-related placental pathology remain unexplored. Thus, we undertook this study to investigate placental expression of HN and GLUT8 in IUGR-affected versus normal pregnancies.
We found 1) increased HN expression in human IUGR-affected pregnancies on the maternal aspect of the placenta (extravillous trophoblastic (EVT) cytoplasm) compared to control (i.e. appropriate for gestational age) pregnancies, and a concomitant increase in GLUT8 expression in the same compartment, 2) HN and GLUT8 showed a protein-protein interaction by co-immunoprecipitation, 3) elevated HN and GLUT8 levels in vitro under simulated hypoxia in human EVT cells, HTR8/SVneo, and 4) increased HN expression but attenuated GLUT8 expression in vitro under serum deprivation in HTR8/SVneo cells.
There was elevated HN expression with cytoplasmic localization to EVTs on the maternal aspect of the human placenta affected by IUGR, also associated with increased GLUT8 expression. We found that while hypoxia increased both HN and GLUT8, serum deprivation increased HN expression alone. Also, a protein-protein interaction between HN and GLUT8 suggests that their interaction may fulfill a biologic role that requires interdependency. Future investigations delineating molecular interactions between these proteins are required to fully uncover their role in IUGR-affected pregnancies.