Kisspeptin regulation of human decidual stromal cells motility via FAK-Src intracellular tyrosine kinases

H. M. Wu*, H. Y. Huang, Y. K. Soong, P. C.K. Leung, H. S. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

15 Scopus citations


STUDY QUESTION: Can of Clinical Genetics, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht kisspeptin and its analogues regulate the motility of human decidual stromal cells and what intracellular signaling pathways are involved? SUMMARY ANSWER: Kisspeptin analogue-mediated cell motility in human decidual stromal cells via the focal adhesion kinase (FAK)-steroid receptor coactivator (Src) pathway suggesting that kisspeptin may modulate embryo implantation and decidual programming in human pregnancy. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: The extravillous trophoblast invades the maternal decidua during embryo implantation and placentation. The motile behavior and invasive potential of decidual stromal cells regulate embryo implantation and programming of human pregnancy. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: Human decidual stromal cells were isolated from healthy women undergoing elective termination of a normal pregnancy at 6-to 12-week gestation, after informed consent. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Kisspeptin analogues were synthetic peptides. Cell motility was estimated by an invasion and migration assay. Immunoblot analysis was performed to investigate the expression of kisspeptin receptor and the effects of kisspeptin analogues on the phosphorylation of FAK and Src. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were used to knock down the expression of kisspeptin receptor, FAK, Src, matrix metallo-proteinases (MMPs) 2 and 9, and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) 1/2. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The kisspeptin receptor was expressed in human decidual stromal cells. Kisspeptin agonist decreased, but antagonist increased, cell motility. Kisspeptin agonist decreased the phosphorylation of FAK and Src tyrosine kinases, whereas antagonist increased it. These effects on phosphorylation were abolished by kisspeptin receptor siRNA. The activation of cell motility by kisspeptin analogues was suppressed by siRNA knockdown of endogenous FAK (decreased 66%), Src (decreased 60%), kisspeptin receptor (decreased 26%), MMP-2 (decreased 36%), MMP-9 (decreased 23%), and ERK 1/2 inhibitor (decreased 27%). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Human decidual stromal cells were obtained from women having terminations after 6-12 weeks of pregnancy and differences in timing could affect their properties. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Kisspeptin acting within the endometrium has a potential modulatory role on embryo implantation and decidual programming of human pregnancy. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was supported by grant NSC-104-2314-B-182A-146-MY2 (to H.-M.W.) from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, and grants CMRPG3E0401 and CMRPG3E0402 (to H.-M.W.). This work was also supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to P.C.K.L. P.C.K.L. is the recipient of a Child & Family Research Institute Distinguished Investigator Award. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: N/A.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1291-1301
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number7
StatePublished - 08 07 2019

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© 2019 The Author(s).


  • FAK
  • Src
  • decidua
  • endometrium
  • kisspeptin
  • motility


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