Human endometrial epithelial cells undergo apoptosis immediately before the menstrual period. Apoptotic signalling was analysed using human endometrial tissue and a human endometrial carcinoma cell line (HHUA). Activity levels of caspase-3, -8, and -9 were elevated in human endometrium during the late secretory phase and in HHUA cells incubated with an anti-Fas monoclonal antibody (mAb). Fas-mediated apoptosis of HHUA cells was blocked by prior exposure to inhibitors of caspase-9, -8 and -3. In HHUA cells treated with anti-Fas mAb, a release of cytochrome c was detected in the cytosolic fraction, in addition a full-length Bid was degraded. Full-length FLIP(L) (p55) was degraded during apoptosis, and p29 (regarded as the product of p55 cleavage) appeared instead of FLIP(L). In normal human endometrial tissue, Bid degradation was also observed in a cyclic manner with a peak during the early secretory phase of the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, the release of cytochrome c was seen in the early secretory phase. However, expression of FLIP(S) was only observed during the menstrual cycle in normal endometrial tissue. We concluded that the main apoptotic signalling in both normal human endometrial tissue and HHUA cells exposed to anti-Fas mAb is the mitochondrial pathway via Bid degradation. Although the function of FLIP is still unknown on normal endometrial tissue, it may be regulated by FLIP(L) expression on HHUA cells derived from human endometrial carcinoma.
Hideaki Abe, Masa-Aki Shibata, Yoshinori Otsuki
Molecular human reproduction